Apartment Air Quality: 3 Ways to Improve It
Apartment living can be a great option for many people. Whether you are uncertain about your commitment to making an area your permanent home, you want to live in the city, or are unable to purchase a home. There are many advantages presented to apartment-living folks but with those advantages come disadvantages that you may have not considered. One of these being apartment air quality.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found that indoor levels of pollutants were two to five times higher than that of outdoor levels, with indoor air pollution finding its way as one of the top five environmental risks to public health (1). Improving your apartment air quality is an important step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
There are several factors that can affect your apartment air quality including temperature, humidity, circulation, and exposure to other chemicals and pollutants. In this article, we will discuss what can affect apartment air quality and the top ways to improve it.
Importance of Maintaining Apartment Air Quality
Year after year, studies have been conducted to find correlating evidence for certain health problems or diseases and the underlying causes of these issues within individuals. One correlating factor that has been recognized by the EPA is the increased time spent indoors in association with these health ailments. The average American spends close to 90 percent of their time indoors – whether that be in their home, in an office, or in any enclosed indoor environment (2).
Indoor air is often times tightly confined due to decreased ventilation and restricted air flow intake from outside, leading to a build-up of contaminants that ruin apartment air quality. Apartments, generally, have higher levels of pollutants due to carpeting, cabinets, counters, and cheap building materials.
These will often off-gas certain chemicals and lead to a collection of pollutants within the air. High levels of indoor air pollution can lead to significant health issues including the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma.
Apartment Air Quality Test
Your apartment’s air quality is impacted by several factors – as pictured above. In an apartment, your air quality is also affected by your neighbors. Primarily apartments face issues such as contaminated ventilation systems, improperly placed outdoor air intakes or maintenance activities that release toxins into the air.
Residents should take the necessary actions to improve apartment air quality by removing the source of the pollution (3). There are several potential sources of pollution within your apartment, that we will discuss further on.
If you fear that your apartment is significantly impacted by a high level of indoor pollution, be sure to test your apartments indoor air by purchasing an air test that will identify the presence of contaminants such as secondhand smoke, mold, formaldehyde, and any other potentially harmful VOCs contaminating your apartment.
Complications with Apartment Air Quality
Certain complications can make keeping your apartment clean a challenge. A smaller floor plan, a lack of control over the pollutants inside your apartment, and higher concentrations of contaminants inside each area of your home can all contribute to the exuberant level of pollution in your apartment.
Therefore, understanding the key complications you face in your apartment when trying to mitigate the pollutants and promote a healthy air environment will help you to decimate these complications and prevail in your air quality quest.
Generally, houses have a high number of windows that help increase circulation throughout the home. Apartments, however, do not have as many windows inside which decreases circulation. Poor circulation restricts air flow within the home and limits the amount of air from outside that helps flush out the contaminated air (4).
In addition, apartments also tend to have fewer air vents. Ultimately, free-flowing air is an important aspect of apartment air quality. Outside airflow helps regulate temperature and prevent the buildup of dust and mold – and when this is not present in a confined area the risks associated with poor indoor air quality are high.
The layouts of many apartments include tight configurations that provide less area and more access to “wet rooms” that can present serious challenges inside your apartment. Areas inside the home where high levels of moisture are present can lead to the growth of mold within your apartment which can drastically impact air quality.
Bathrooms and laundry rooms are the main “wet rooms” that have the potential to develop mold. Mold that is in your home can produce mold spores that will travel through the air and taint the air you breathe in – leading to potential health hazards upon exposure (5).
The issues presented above, both poor indoor air quality and the small areas, inside an apartment can lead to the last issue of excess humidity. Humidity levels are essential to keeping your air healthy – and with an increased level of humidity, the air quality will be compromised (6).
Humidity plays a big role in your health and low/high humidity levels can trigger a variety of health ailments. Low humidity levels can increase the development of respiratory illnesses, colds, and skin infections, whereas high levels of humidity can elicit allergies – as dust thrives in these conditions, and cause condensation which can create mold and mildew.
How to Improve Apartment Air Quality
Detoxing your apartment is a must if you feel that your indoor air quality is tainted by other sources in your environment. Whether you have started feeling sick in your home or a spike in allergies indoors, it can be a sign of compromised indoor air inside your apartment.
What can you do to reduce indoor pollution and clean the air inside your apartment? There are 4 main strategies you want to focus on and I go over each below.
Detoxify with Green Cleaning
Did you know that one of the main culprits of indoor pollution in your home is from cleaning products used in the home? Many traditional cleaning agents used every day contain a plethora of toxic chemicals that get released into the air you breathe inside your home. Who would have thought the pursuit to clean your home actually taints the air inside your home!
Therefore, when it comes to cleaning your apartment, detoxify your apartment with green cleaning products that DO NOT contain toxic ingredients. By utilizing non-toxic cleaning products, the number of pollutants in your apartment’s air will be reduced significantly.
Improve Indoor Ventilation
Improved ventilation inside the apartment allows for fresh air to circulate throughout the environment and filter out contaminants harbored in the indoor air. New construction today, especially in apartments, ventilation is very limited which can cause significant issues for indoor air quality – thus when you increase ventilation and allow access for fresh air to enter into your home the air quality will drastically improve.
In addition, improved ventilation helps to minimize the potential for mold growth within the apartment by reducing moisture buildup in “wet areas” throughout the apartment, which in turn help to mitigate the potential for indoor pollution from mold spores to collect inside the home.
Update Apartment Air Filters
The most effective way to improve your apartments indoor air is to frequently change air filters and also to utilize a portable high-efficiency air purifier (7). Many times, we often forget to change out our HVAC filters every couple of months to reduce the level of pollution inside your apartment. Setting reminders to alert you to change out your filters will help to improve indoor air quality inside your home and reduce pollutants.
In addition, arming your apartment with a portable air purification device like the EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System can provide your apartment with clean air that is filtered using a two-stage filtration process. The first stage includes a patented technology that is capable of eliminating/neutralizing noxious odors and toxic chemicals from the air, and the second stage a hospital-grade HEPA filter that filters out fine particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns in size.
Detoxifying your apartment from contaminants within the indoor air can provide a long list of benefits to not only your health but also to your environment. Implementing steps to filter out the air inside your home and reducing the pollutants contained within the space is the key to creating a healthy living space inside your apartment.