INDOOR AIR – IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS


Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outside air. Living with stale air can cause physical health issues ranging from itchy eyes, headaches and troubled sleep to asthma and allergies.


Indoor air is polluted by a seemingly endless list of sources. It’s everything from excess CO2 to food particles from cooking, pet hairs, moisture from baths, showers and washing machines. 65% of all Europeans dry clothes indoors at least once a week, which gives off damp, and approximately ten litres of liquid are produced by the average family every day. Studies have also found that children’s rooms are often the most polluted in a home. 45% of all children’s bedrooms have much too high levels of CO2 due to insufficient ventilation.

SYMPTOMS

If you suffer from persistent physical symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and headaches that seem to lessen when you’re not at home, it might well be due to poor indoor climate. Activities like cooking, cleaning and bathing all add moisture to indoor air, which could be leading to the kind of mould growth that causes health issues. Also, the more activity there is in a room, the more dust and other particles are stirred up and circulated.

SOLUTIONS

The first step to improving indoor air quality is to accept and understand the extent of the problem. It will help motivate you to remember these simple steps towards having cleaner air.

1.


Air out with more than one window

The contents of indoor air include gases, particles, biological waste and water vapour, which are all potential health hazards. It is recommended that you air out your home three to four times a day for at least 10 minutes at a time, with more than one window open. Also, air out your bedroom before you go to bed and when you get up in the morning.

2.


Clean and air your carpets

… or better still, get rid of them. Thick carpets and furniture like old sofas are an Eldorado for dust mites and bacteria.

3.


Limit damp and moisture

Try not to dry your clothes indoors. They give off moisture, which can lead to the kind of household mould that is harmful to your health. For the same reasons, make sure your bathroom is properly ventilated. If you don’t have the option to dry outside, try to open a window close to where your clothes are drying so you can remove some of the excess moisture.

EYES ON THE BIGGER PICTURE

As well as new daily routines, it is also important to seize chances to make fundamental changes to your home’s indoor climate. We spend 90% of our time indoors and 2/3 of that time spent in our homes, so it is an ideal place to start improving your life indoors.

 

Improve your existing space

Think about how you can ‘bring the outside in.’ As most of us live in urban environments, to some extent we have alienated ourselves from nature. Even a step as small as adding some potted plants – which are known to purify air – can improve your indoor environment. In addition, think of how you could create a better view to the outside through smart use of windows and doors.

Grow your space the right way

Adding extra square metres to your home is a great way to improve your indoor life. Consider an attic renovation or extension and prioritise solutions that bring in fresh air and daylight.

Moving home

When you’re looking for a new home, bear in mind that older properties might have issues that will impact your indoor climate. For example, make sure you check that all windows can be fully opened and are functional, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Also, when you get to the redecorating stage, choose a lighter paint colour. These will create mirrored surfaces that will reflect light better in your home.


LIVING IN DAMP AND
MOULDY HOMES INCREASES
RISK OF ASTHMA BY 40%

Respiratory problems and allergies can be caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality.

WHAT CAN I DO?

There are many ways to get better air and daylight into your home. Some are quick and easy, others take more time but will give you solid long-term improvements.