Air pollution isn't limited to the outdoors. Moisture, odors, gases, dust and a host of other irritants can affect air quality indoors, too. Try these tactics to help freshen your home's air so you and your family can breathe easy.
- Open windows. Most heating and cooling systems recirculate inside air. When weather permits, give your system a break and let fresh air in. Open windows and place fans strategically to help direct fresh air through.
- Use exhaust fans. Turn on the kitchen fan to vent cooking pollutants, and the bathroom fan to curb mold-promoting wetness and cleaning-product fumes. Leave it running for about 45 minutes.
- Do doormats. They help prevent dirt and other outdoor pollutants from making it inside. Get two natural-fiber mats, one for inside and the other for outside your main entrance. Keep a shoe-free home, too.
- Test for radon. The naturally occurring gas is colorless and odorless. It's also the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. DIY test kits, available online and at your local home improvement store, are inexpensive and easy to use.
- Don't mask odors. Scented candles and sprays can irritate lungs, too. Find the source of the smell, get rid of it, then ventilate well until it's gone.
- Use a dehumidifier. Stay under 50 percent humidity to keep mold growth at bay. Clean your dehumidifier regularly, too, so it doesn't switch from humidity-reducing friend to mold-harboring foe.
- Vacuum regularly. You'll reduce the amount of dust and other pollutants released when you walk around. Invest in a quality vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, especially good at trapping even tiny bits of dust and dirt.
- Take it outside. Painting, sanding, gluing — anything that generates particles, gases or other pollutants. If outside isn't an option, open a nearby window and add a fan blowing air out. Clean up after your project quickly and well.
- Monitor your air quality. Devices can monitor temperature and humidity to help you understand how your home might affect your health.