How to keep the air in your home clean
Here’s some COVID-19 good news: Outdoor air pollution has been sharply decreasing across the globe as businesses shut down and people stay home.
But as you spend more time inside to practice social distancing, it’s important to ensure your home’s air is clean, as indoor air can be worse than outdoor air.
Dirty air can cause a variety of respiratory illnesses, and data from a Centers of Disease Control report showed roughly three-quarters of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had at least one underlying health issue, which included asthma and lung disease.
Tips for clean air at home:
- Quit smoking or vaping indoors: If you can’t quit smoking or vaping, do everything you can to avoid exposing others to your fumes. (It’s of course healthier to quit smoking outdoors, too.)
- Clean your humidifier regularly: If you have a humidifier, clean it every three days to a week to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
- Replace your HVAC filter– It’s recommended to change your HVAC filter every few months. View instructions here.
- Ventilate while cooking: Frying foods and cooking without ventilation increases indoor air pollution. Turn on your stove’s ventilation hood or open windows when cooking.
- Address mold or damp spots in your home: If you smell anything musty around your home you should investigate. Common areas for mold growth include basements, showers, and around heating and cooling appliances.
- Invest in an air purifier or plants: Some of the best plants to filter air include the Spider plant, Boston fern, Bamboo palm, Snake plant, Peace lily, and Red-edged dracaena.
- Ventilate and use green cleaners when cleaning: Many conventional cleaners contain a plethora of chemicals that can contribute to air pollution in your home. Switching to green certified cleaners, where appropriate, and ventilating while cleaning can reduce air pollution.
Tips for clean air outside:
- Walk or bike: When you need to take an essential trip, walk or bike if able.
- Lower your energy usage: For ideas on how to lower your home’s energy use, take a look here.
- Purchase a low emission vehicle: When you eventually need to purchase a new vehicle, choose an electric or hybrid car, which also saves on gas costs.
- Use renewable energy: Install solar panels or talk to your utility provider about purchasing renewable energy.
About the Author
Travis is the Sustainability Specialist for Advocate Aurora Health. He primarily works on managing sustainability data (waste, green purchasing, energy usage, etc.), system sustainability education, and on waste and energy reduction projects for the system.