It’s probably not something that we consider very often, but the quality of air in our homes can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing.We now spend 90 per cent of our lives inside buildings, so when it comes to the home, air quality isn’t something we can ignore, especially as new research from Velux revealed only a quarter of UK residents are fully satisfied with the air quality in their homes.
Not only does good indoor air quality improve concentration levels and helps us to get a better night’s sleep but it also reduces energy costs. WE thought we’d suggest a few simple ways to help you and your family breathe a bit fresher:
Consistent & adequate ventilation
Airing out your home by opening windows as much as possible means letting more oxygen in and removing things like cooking odours, gases and humidity which builds up over time.
An easy way to get the fresh air flowing in the right places is by opening windows in the bathroom every time you shower and in the kitchen every time you cook, allowing steam and odours to escape. Closing the doors to these rooms while they air out will restrict the cool air to these spaces in addition to stopping the steamy air from travelling to other places in the house.
If you find it difficult to open windows during the day because you work full time, consider leaving them open at night (as long as security isn’t an issue) or when you’re at home during the weekends.
Using naturally fragranced or fragrance free products
Many common household cleaning products and air fresheners use special chemicals to give them the characteristic fresh and fragrant smells that so many of us find appealing. There is growing evidence to suggest that once these chemicals are released into the atmosphere and react with compounds in the air, they produce formaldehyde as a by-product.
Formaldehyde, classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC), is a normal part of our environment in small concentrations but many experts have advised that indoor exposure to high levels of VOCs could be harmful. To limit exposure, consider using products which are naturally fragranced, fragrance free or even natural cleaning alternatives. Use essential oils as a replacement, diluted with water in a spray bottle, in a stick diffuser or burner – there are so many lovely natural smells to choose from.
One of the simplest ways to help improve the air in your home comes straight from the natural world. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, studies indicate that plants are highly effective air purifiers and can help to reduce chemical levels in enclosed spaces by filtering out potentially harmful compounds. This, coupled with the fact that they produce oxygen, means they have the power to make the air that we breathe indoors significantly healthier.