If You Are Spending More Time Indoors, How Good is Your Air Quality?
We know that our air quality outdoors has improved considerably in recent weeks – but have you thought about how good or bad your indoors air quality is?
With schools closed, many of us working from home, exercising indoors and all the cooking and baking going on, there could well have been a rise in air pollution in our homes.
It is estimated that CO2 levels could have risen by as much as 20% while levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may have gone up by a third.
Why is good quality indoors air important?
Poor indoor air quality can have serious health impacts – especially in young children and those with respiratory problems.
There have been links to premature birth, behavioral problems in young children as well as skin problems, asthma and poor sleep habits in people of all ages.
What to look out for?
Carbon dioxide build-up. Every time we breathe in and out, we emit carbon dioxide. Add the extra number of people staying at home and the build-up worsens. It can leave the residents sleepy, dizzy and struggling to concentrate.
Particulate matter. Cooking is one of the main sources of PM – tiny particles that are hazardous to human health when inhaled. Always use the extractor fan and open a window when you are cooking. Frying is the worst – with anything where you are using cooking oil causing an issue.
VOCs. There are loads of things that can emit VOCs: cleaning products, clothing, hand sanitizers, scented candles, air fresheners, shower gels and of course the fire retardants in new furniture. When VOCs react with ozone gas in the air around us, they can form dangerous pollutants. You can imagine how much worse this would be in a confined space indoors.
Mold. You can be alerted to the possibility of mold in your home, if you have a musty smell. But if you see mold, then the problem becomes more acute. Most of the toxic mold that we may be breathing in is actually invisible and floating in the air. We all need lots of fresh air and we are not going to get that if we are holed up inside a musty home 90% of the time with no fresh air circulating. The best prevention for mold is to keep every thing dry; to ventilate your home by opening windows daily; and to use a good air purification system. Essential oils can be a great way of controlling mold. Find out more in our earlier blog post.
Radon. This might be less familiar to you. It is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can seep into buildings and foundations, building up over a long period but can be remedied with ventilation measures. Testing kits can be ordered online.
Keep those doors and windows open!
There is a very simple solution to many of the above problems!
Keep a free flow of fresh air through your home as much as you possibly can.