Over the years, we’ve shared a number of tips that help improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in Phoenix homes. But cleaning the house and taking care of your HVAC system aren’t the only ways to clean up your inhalation. So if you want to completely overcome seasonal allergies and other effects of our dusty desert climate, here are some additional ways to enhance the quality of air you breathe in Arizona.
1. Avoid Toxic Cleaners, Scented Products.
One of the easiest ways to “clear the air” is to pay attention to the products you buy for cleaning and air freshening. Just because something might smell good and clean, it doesn’t mean it is. When you take the time to assess labels, you’ll find that most fragrance driven chemicals are synthetic and created from harmful substances.
It’s not uncommon to see carcinogenic benzene derivatives, petroleum, toluene, aldehydes and other toxins on the bottles of products that are supposed to cleanse and refresh. So before you spray this stuff on surfaces and into the air, consider the long term repercussions.
What Can You Use Instead?
Fragrance-free products without artificial scents are safer and far more effective than strong smelling mixtures. Purchasing plant based brands and essential oils will ensure you don’t contribute to IAQ problems. Even using baking soda to eliminate odors will drastically enhance the quality of air you breathe in Arizona.
2. Buy Plants to Naturally Clean Air.
If you’re really looking for a way to freshen up your environment, then adding some vegetation is a good way to go. In case you forgot, plants naturally take in the carbon dioxide we exhale and turn it into oxygen. They also do a great job filtering air while adding some organic decoration to your space.
Since certain plants are known to clean a lot better than others, it’s always best to do some research before creating your own “fern gully” indoors. So here are a few examples of common household plants to get you started.
- Snake Plant: This is a popular choice for bedrooms as it releases oxygen at night. Because it’s not as active during the day, it doesn’t need a lot of water or sunlight to thrive.
- Red-Edged Dracaena: If you want to add some beauty inside while removing toxins, this plant is perfect. It’s known to filtrate trichloroethylene, xylene and formaldehyde from the air.
- Rubber Tree: Do you have a space that’s a little bit cooler and doesn’t get a lot of light? If so, a rubber tree ought to do the trick. Aside from removing toxins in the air, it requires minimal upkeep – in case you forget it’s there.
- Aloe Plant: This choice actually has leaves that’ll accumulate brown spots when there is a lot of chemical activity in the air. In addition to its appeal and healing capabilities, the aloe plant can also help detox the body.
- Bamboo Palm: This plant is one of the better air purifiers out there as it is effective at removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air you breathe.
- English Ivy: This easy to care for houseplant was rated by NASA as the best natural air filter. Its distinct leaves are also good for combating formaldehyde.
3. Know Which Products Emit Gases.
Most people aren’t aware that some building materials and furniture emit a toxic gas called formaldehyde. This could include cabinetry, tables, sofas, flooring or even decor. Whether these products are made of wood or something else, the adhesives that hold them together are the culprit. If you really want to enhance the quality of air you breathe in Arizona then you’ll probably need to redecorate a little.
Toxic gases are also released from volatile organic compounds (VOC). Paint is a common example. If you find yourself dealing with dizziness or headaches then you might want to consider some eco-friendly options that don’t vaporize after application. You can develop asthma or new allergies from this type of unclean air.
4. Freeze Pillows and Stuffed Animals.
Anything you sleep with has the potential to be loaded with dust mites. This is because most of our dead skin cells are shed while we’re in bed – and dust mites eat dead skin cells. When you don’t own allergen-proof covers or wash your bedding often, just know you’re cuddling with tons of cells, mites and their droppings every night.
While it may seem gross to lay in, it’s even worse to breathe in. Allergies are a common result of this decomposed matter. So if you want to enhance the quality of air you breathe, get this cleaned up on a regular basis. The best way to do so is to freeze pillows and stuffed animals for a few hours before throwing them into the wash.
5. Don’t Let Smoke Inside the Premises.
There’s nothing healthy about smoking. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) made it very clear that tobacco smoke plays a significant role in indoor air pollution. But if you’re set on keeping the habit, it’s always best to do so outdoors. If you have guests that smoke, it’s OK to ask them to step outside. Every exhale exposes inhabitants to more than 4,000 chemicals.
Nonetheless, any type of smoke absorption will diminish IAQ. When you’re cooking on the stove, make sure you’re utilizing ventilation. If you burn your food, open the windows. Those of you that own a fireplace need to keep it clean. When you’re grilling on the patio or sitting around a backyard fire, make sure the windows are closed. All of these things will enhance the quality of air you breathe in Arizona.
6. Test For Radon & Carbon Monoxide.
Because of warm temperatures and the low thermal suction on the soil, the presence of radan isn’t highly discussed in Arizona. But the rich history or uranium mining here makes it worth looking into. According to the ADHS, “radon gas is formed by the natural decay of radium, which results from the decay of uranium.”
Unlike carbon monoxide, radon is an odorless, invisible gas that is commonly found in the rock or soil beneath residential properties. Since studies have linked the emission to lung cancer, scheduling routine testing is not a bad idea. If you want to make sure you’re breathing clean air, then detecting unwanted gases should be a priority.
Additional Ways to Enhance Air Quality.
Analyze Your Flooring and Vacuum.
If you have a lot of carpet, but can’t keep up with vacuuming, then it’s also a good idea to consider hard flooring. Carpeting tends to trap a number of allergens and pollutants that are eventually breathed in. If you love vacuuming, then make sure you clean the filters and change the bags. This keeps dirty air from getting recycled. You can even consider a “no shoes” rule to ensure carpets stay clean.
Keeping Plumbing and Pets Clean.
Pets can also pose a problem when they’re in and out of the house. If you’re not brushing and bathing them outdoors. While you may not be able to see what’s entering the air, it most certainly is there.
Professional Assistance Always Helps.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is have your property checked by a certified HVAC company on a regular basis. Even if you implement everything on this list, dirty ducts and ventilation are tough to overcome. A professional can also help you find a whole home purification system that suits your needs.
At Canyon State Air Conditioning, Heating and Cooling, we understand the importance of clean air. It’s reflected in our comfort plans. So if you have any questions about air filtration in Arizona, let us know. We’re only a phone call away.