The first thing you think of when considering the health and safety of your family likely isn't your home's indoor air quality. Given that relative humidity levels contribute to many different health ailments, you should.
Dry air contributes to respiratory illnesses like asthma and chronic bronchitis. It can also lead to dermatitis and exacerbate skin conditions like eczema. Dry home air also increases stress levels. These are all good reasons to improve your air quality.
With winter on its way to force people indoors, here are 5 ways to improve indoor air quality.
1. House Plants
Though you may not have a green thumb, house plants make an easy fix for how to improve indoor air quality and increase home humidity levels. They also add a lot of beauty.
Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They also help filter out the toxins in your home air from your heating and cooling systems. Inviting a few green friends into your house goes a long way to promote your respiratory health.
Through the process known as evapotranspiration, plants put moisture into the air. The plant's roots take in water from the soil and release it through pores in the leaves.
While most plants do this, some plants contribute to home humidity levels better than others. If you need to bump up your humidity levels, invest in these houseplants:
If you're looking to add humidity, avoid succulents and cactus plants. They are desert plants, so they suck water from the air rather than release it.
This is the most traditional and easiest solution for improving air quality in your home. These machines range from small countertop size to whole-home systems.
The best part is, they are simple to operate. Fill the tank with water, adjust the settings to warm or cool vapor, and you're done. Soon the water will vaporize and blow into your room.
Small ones are great investments for individual rooms. Dry air irritates your sinuses and sinus congestion impacts your sleep. Do you want to know how to improve air quality in your bedroom? Place a humidifier on your nightstand.
If you invest in a humidifier, you need to make sure to clean it on a regular basis. Bacteria and mold grow in the tank and filters. Releasing mold particles into your home air is counterproductive to air quality improvement.
3. Let Your Laundry Hang Dry
Increasing your indoor humidity levels doesn't require a big investment. There are many inventive ways to do it without breaking the bank. One of the ways to bump up the moisture in the air is to skip the dryer.
Allowing your laundry to hang dry indoors contributes to home humidity. It's simple science. The moisture from your wet clothes evaporates into the air. Since it's a slow process, the air quality regulates at an even rate.
Hang drying your clothes indoors also saves you money and helps the environment! Your clothes dryer uses a lot of energy, and the less you use it, the less your electricity and gas bills will be.
4. Harness Your Kitchen and Bathroom
Your bathroom and kitchen are full of great air quality and humidity solutions for your home. If you want to add moisture to the air, these are the two rooms to make it happen.
Dishwashers are a fantastic tool. Rather than let your dishwasher cycle through the drying stage, open the door and let your dishes air dry. The steam and moisture will contribute to a healthy humidity level.
Don't use lids on your pots when you cook. While not advisable when you simmer chili, don't use a lid on pasta night. You can also boil an open pot of water on your stovetop when you're not cooking for a quick shot of moisture.
In the bathroom, leave the door open when you shower. Notice how when you shower, the hot air steams the entire bathroom? If you're like most people, you turn on the ventilation fan so the moisture doesn't contribute to mildew growth.
If you're having home humidity issues, leave the fan off and keep the door open. The moisture from the shower will flow into the rest of your home.
Leaving your sinks and tubs full of water after use is also a great way to improve air quality. These large amounts of sitting water evaporate into your home's atmosphere and help regulate humidity levels.
Leaving your sinks and tubs full presents a hazard if you have small children. If you have little ones running around, it's best to use other methods.
5. Add Moisture to Your Heating System
Forced air heating is one of the main culprits for poor in-home air quality and low home humidity levels. Back in the old days when homes were equipped with radiator heat, this wasn't a problem.
If you've ever lived in an apartment with one of those old systems, you know the joy of moist heat that feels like a hug. Somehow, these forced air systems blast all day and you still can't get warm. Combine that with the dry air and winter is trouble.
While you can't add water to your heating mechanism, you can set bowls of water in front of your vents. This helps promote air quality and humidity by heating the water and helping it evaporate.
Tips to Improve Air Quality
With winter on its way, it's time you investigate your home's air quality. Poor home air quality combined with low humidity levels cause minor and major health issues. Keep your lungs and skin healthy this winter.
Invest in some beautifying house plants to help filter your air. Keep your home moist by hang-drying your laundry and air drying your dishes. If humidity or lack of it remains a serious problem, look into a humidifier.