Improving Air Quality in Your Home

Improve Indoor Air Quality & Breathe Easier
Robare Custom Homes is a Certified Green Builder and member of the Build San Antonio Green program. Here is a helpful article originally published by Build San Antonio Green, explaining the importance of indoor air quality and how to accomplish while living green:

One item that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to living green is indoor air quality.  MPE, when developing the Build San Antonio Green program, made sure to include indoor air quality as one of the areas that is scored in the certification process for homes.  The quality of the air in one’s home can greatly affect one’s health and tremendously impact overall quality of life.  We spend a large part of time indoors, so the quality of the air inside deserves attention.  There are many simple things that can be done around the home in order to improve the indoor air quality.

One of the simplest things to do is to regularly change the filter in the air conditioning system, and to use a filter with a MERV-8 or higher rating.  These filters are available anywhere air conditioner filters are sold.  Simply make sure it is labeled MERV-8 or higher.  Air conditioner filter trap a large amount of dust, dirt, allergens, and other particulate matter, so a regular changing makes a dramatic impact on the quality of the air in one’s home.

Carpet also has an impact on indoor air quality.  To improve the air quality, eliminate as much fixed carpet as possible.  Carpets trap dirt, dust and other allergens which then re-circulate in the home and can cause allergies attacks, illness, and other problems.  Rugs are acceptable, as they can periodically be taken outside and shaken out or otherwise cleaned.

When it comes time to repaint, look for paints that are low to zero VOC.  VOC stands for “volatile organic compound.”  These are chemicals that vaporize very quickly, and are the chemicals that one usually associates with the smell of new paint.  This vaporization process is called off-gassing, and it can cause headaches, nausea and other symptoms.   VOC’s are responsible for a significant percentage of outdoor air pollution, and EPA studies have found indoor levels of VOC’s 2 to 5 times as high as outdoor air.  Look for paints that have a VOC content of 100 grams or less per liter.  This will usually be noted on the paint can label.  Low to zero VOC paints are not very difficult to find.  Most paint companies offer a line of low VOC paints.

Another easy way to improve indoor air quality when it comes to VOC’s is to use cleaning products that are non-toxic.  Avoid any household cleaners with petroleum distillates, butyl ether, ammonia, chlorine, phosphates, benzene or strong acids.  Non-toxic products clean just as well if not better than traditional cleaners, but do not off-gas and put VOC’s into the household air.  They also have the added benefit of being less environmentally damaging than other cleaning products.  Natural Life Provisions Company, a member of the Build San Antonio Green program, is a good resource for environmentally appropriate cleaning products.

Improving indoor air quality does not have to be a complex or expensive process.  With these simple steps, the air quality inside the home can be greatly improved in little time and with little money spent, and one’s quality of life will improve as a result.

The original article can be found at: