By: Charlie Fletcher
We’ve all heard about air pollution for decades now, but usually, it’s associated with broader, global concerns. This tends to conjure up images of the outdoors, with gorgeous mountain landscapes and lush tropical forests fighting for survival as the air perpetually gets smoggier around them.
And it’s true that the outdoor air we all share is quickly becoming overrun with dangerous chemicals and pollutants. However, there’s another area of air pollution that often gets overlooked: in our homes.
One study unveiled at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in early 2019 revealed that indoor air can be filled with an entire array of pollutants caused by cleaning, cooking, and even the filler hiding inside your furniture.
Other studies have connected air pollution with something you regularly do indoors: sleep. One study found that low-quality air was directly connected to sleep apnea, while another drew a line between happiness and the quality of the air being breathed within a home.
As is the case with all research, though, this knowledge isn’t enough. We need to be able to do something about it. With that in mind, here are a few tips and suggestions for how you can use technology to monitor and improve the air in your living space.
Get to the Root of the Problem
If you suspect that your house does, indeed, have air quality issues, you’re going to want to start by getting to the root of the problem. Are you dealing with excessive amounts of mold due to a damp basement or leaky faucet? Is radon gas or asbestos — two of the lead causes of lung cancer — present?
Whatever the case, it’s wise to utilize technology right off the bat by getting a good air-quality monitor that can track things like the quantity of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in your air in order to see if your home’s air has too many dangerous compounds present.
Along with tracking your indoor air, in general, you can also use technology to monitor your own physical condition. Tracking things like your heart rate, activity, and even your sleeping and breathing patterns can help provide insight about your health within your living space.
Keep the Air Moving
Indoor air can stagnate quickly, which is why you should keep your air fresh and moving. While you can simply accomplish this by manually opening up windows on warm days, this can be labor intensive and can often be forgotten. Instead, you can add things like sensor vent fans in localized areas like your bathroom where moisture can be an issue if left unattended to.
On a whole house scale, many modern homes are also being equipped with mechanical whole-house ventilation systems. These systems, in essence, continually refresh the air within a home, without the homeowner needing to lift a finger. They can be excellent ways to keep your air fresh and avoid building up too many pollutants.
Purify the Air Itself
Next, you should take steps to clean the air itself, and once again, technology comes to the rescue. If you’re simply dealing with large quantities of dust or pollen in the air, all you might need is a simple, high-grade air filter that’s capable of catching all of the smaller particulates.
However, if you’re concerned about more serious pollution, there are many more advanced air filters available. If you’re willing to invest some cash, you can get models that can pick up everything from pet allergens down to germs, toxins, and odors, reporting all of it to an app right on your phone.
A good filter, combined with a proper house ventilation system, gives you the ability to keep your air fresh and clean.
Add Plants to Your Decor
Finally, you may want to consider adding plants to your decor. While this isn’t technological advice, it’s a tried and true method to purify some pretty nasty pollutants out of your air. Not only that, but you can keep track of the effect of each plant with your air-quality monitors.
There are many different plants that can be particularly effective in the battle for clean air, including:
- Aloe Vera
- Peace Lilies
- Garden Mums
- English Ivy
- Bamboo Palms
This variety provides plenty of different options that can fit in with virtually any decor or style.
Fighting for Cleaner Indoor Air
It’s tempting for all of us to spend our time working on Pinterest-perfect cosmetic improvements and creating mindful spaces within our home. However, we also need to remember to consider what we’re doing to help improve merely existing within our own spaces. What is every breath you take in your kitchen or living room doing to your body?
The goal isn’t to sound alarmist but simply to draw attention to an issue that is far too often overlooked. The air quality in our homes is a crucial element of our living spaces, and it’s one that should be regularly monitored and actively kept clean in order to stay healthy for the long term.