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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Smarty Tips for Getting Good Indoor Air Quality

By Dana D, Charlotte Smarty Pants

We do so many things to nurture our children and families but one thing we often overlook is indoor air quality. Our homes are becoming so much more energy efficient which is great. The negative aspect is that all the pollutants we bring into the home are causing indoor air pollution to become worse than outdoor air pollution. We have sealed up all those drafty areas and/or put in new windows but now we have stale polluted air inside. So I have pulled together a few tips to help you out this winter. Once spring arrives then we can open our windows and let some fresh air in.

Use low or no VOC paint when painting and try to ventilate as much as possible. If you can hold off and paint in the spring that would be a better scenario.

AFM Safecoat and Mythic Paint are two great examples. Most paint lines now have their version of this type of paint so it should be no problem finding it.

Buy used furniture. It has had time to off gas. You can always put a fresh coat of the low or no VOC paint on it for a new look. If you are going to buy new then buy eco friendly versions, such as flame retardant free, organic upholstery and/or made of recycled materials. You also want to buy pieces with a nontoxic finish and NO particle board. All the pieces of wood are sandwiched together with glue which off gases as well. Check out Pacific Rim Woodworking for great quality eco-friendly furniture. Examples of furniture companies that do not use flame retardants are Green Sage Furniture, Montauk Furniture and Verellen Home Collection. IKEA has some affordable options as well.

Remember to change air filters and replace with a tighter weave if needed.

Buy all natural or wool rugs (Earth Weave brand for example) or try to eliminate rugs. Synthetic rugs also have issues in regards to air quality and carpet can contribute to allergies as well.

Try to keep dust and pet dander under control.

Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.

Use natural cleaning products.

One of the easiest things to do is buy houseplants. It is wise to put a couple in your bedroom since you spend a majority of your lifetime in this one room. Houseplants help purify the air. It’s a good idea to keep one on your desk at work as well.

Here is a list of plants that are most effective.
- Peace lily
- Gerbera daisy
- Chinese evergreen
- Bamboo or reed palm
- Pot mum
- Corn plant
- Golden pothos
- English ivy
- Warnecki
- Janet craig
- Marginata

Purchase an air purifier.

I run the attic fan occasionally, but not for long, to get fresh air circulating in the house. It will obviously cool the house down which is backfiring on the whole idea of being energy efficient while heating the home.

Remember to get outside as much as possible and ask your local plant nursery on how to best care for houseplants. My houseplants have been severely neglected so I need ones that require little maintenance.

Good luck!


Kelly G. said...

Just remember that when you buy house plants, make sure your pets and kids can't get to them. Many house plants are poisonous, and cats especially love to nibble on them.

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