Americans spend a shocking 95% of each day indoors. The American Lung Association says that since we spend so much time indoors, breathing healthy air where we live, work, and play is critical. Sadly, indoor air quality can actually be worse, sometimes much worse, than outdoor air quality. There can be things in the air in your home that can be hazardous to your family's health but there may not be any telltale signs.
A new product called Awair is offering to measure your indoor air quality by reading five data points in the air: temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and dust. Awair claims to improve your quality of life by giving you information about what is in your air. Good air quality can indeed improve your health, your mood, and your productivity. Awair continuously monitors the air in your home and creates an Awair Score from 0 to 100, 0 being poor air quality and 100 being awesome.
The device lets you set your preferences for alerts and though a smart app offers you advice on what you can do to improve your air quality. It tracks daily air quality and recommends ways you can change your behavior. For example, too much CO2 in the air can slow down productivity and make you groggy. The monitor can alert you to high CO2 levels and recommend ways you can improve ventilation and lower CO2 levels.
This gadget is particularly helpful for those with asthma or allergies. Typically you have no idea how much dust is in the air until you begin to have a reaction. Knowing when allergen levels are high can help you determine whether to open or close a window or to turn on the a/c.
One of the best ways you can keep the air in your home healthy is to convert all of your appliances, water heaters, and heaters to electric. By using an induction stove, a heat pump water heater, and a high-efficiency heat pump furnace, you can eliminate natural gas from your home. This will greatly reduce the danger of poisonous carbon monoxide gas and fire hazards posed by gas appliances.
Here's some more tips from the American Lung Association for keeping pollution out of your home:
- Declare your home a smokefree zone. Never let anyone smoke indoors. Ask smokers to go outside.
- Test your home for radon, an invisible gas that causes lung cancer. Every home should be tested since radon may be found in any home. If your home has high radon, it can be fixed.
- Keep humidity levels under 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, as needed. Clean equipment regularly so they don't become a source of pollution themselves.
- Fix all leaks and drips in the home. Standing water and high humidity encourage the growth of mold and other pollutants.
- Put away food, cover trash, and use baits to control pests, like cockroaches.
- Avoid burning wood because it adds pollution indoors and out. Don't use outdoor wood boilers, also called hydronic heaters, to heat your home's water. They add unhealthy soot to the air in your neighborhood.
- Don't use scented candles or fragrances to hide odors. Figure out what is causing the odor, then clean that up and ventilate to add fresh air.
- Use cleaning, household, and hobby products that are less toxic. Don't store hazardous chemicals in your home.
Once you've cleared up these problems, you can breathe a very clean sigh of relief.