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Tips on how to keep your indoor air clean

As colder weather approaches, Samantha Heller of Health magazine shares tips to help your family stay happy and healthy inside your home.
/ Source: Weekend Today

Fall is around the corner, so that means you'll be spending more time indoors, but did you know the air you breathe inside your home isn't as healthy as it should be? Samantha Heller, contributing editor with Health magazine, offers advice on how to create a clean air environment.

We spend about 90% of our time at home, so it is a good idea to keep our indoor air as clean as possible. There are various types of indoor pollutants including biological, organic (household products), radon and tobacco smoke. Today we are focusing on biological pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that biological particles, such as animal and insect allergens, viruses, bacteria, and molds, can cause allergic reactions, infectious diseases, and/or can produce toxic products, which may be released into the air.

To help reduce indoor air pollution the EPA suggests the following:

1. Source Control: Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air.Eliminate or control the sources of pollution.

2. Ventilation:Brings outdoor air indoors. This can be achieved by opening windows or using exhaust fans.

3. Air Cleaning:Remove pollutants through proven air cleaning methods. Air cleaning is not generally regarded as sufficient in itself, but is sometimes used to supplement source control and ventilation.

Air Purifiers/cleaners
You may want to buy an air purifier for your home as an added method of reducing home air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, the efficiency of an air cleaner is measured in terms of the particle size that the device can capture. In most cases, very small particles are the ones that penetrate deep into the lungs, causing health problems. Look for mechanical filters such as HEPA filters and electronic air cleaners that can effectively trap large and small particles. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. The HEPA filter was invented by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to filter radioactive particulates during World War II. Since then it has been modified for home use in products such as home air purifiers and vacuum cleaners

Here are some simple tips that you can use at home to help you keep your indoor air clean:

  • Do not allow tobacco smoking inside the home.
  • Install and use fans vented to outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Change or clean air conditioner filters regularly, every 30 days.
  • Clean cool mist and ultrasonic humidifiers in accordance with manufacturer's instructions and refill with clean water daily.
  • Open windows and allow for cross draft ventilation and/or turn the AC on to fan/outdoor.
  • Clean your house regularly.
  • Dust your walls once a month.
  • Wash or dry clean curtains periodically'
  • Vacuum upholstery.
  • Clean and dry or remove water-damaged carpets.
  • Identify and fix any leaks in basements, bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Change your vacuum bag at least once a month and never allow it to become more than 1/2 filled.
  • Scrub mold and mildew off hard surfaces with detergent and water and be sure to dry them completely.
  • When purchasing a home air cleaner, note the size of the room in which you are placing the air cleaner.
  • Change filters in furnaces and air cleaning devices as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

For more tips and information on indoor air pollution, visit these sites: