Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most common contaminants that may reduce indoor air quality. Pollution may lead to various health issues, especially involving the respiratory system. Fortunately, there are many ways you can try to reduce the number of indoor air particulates, such as:
1. Vent Out All the Combustion
Pay attention to your household appliances that feature combustion such as your gas stove, fossil-fueled heating system, or fireplace. Make sure to vent all the byproduct gases out of your house to prevent the contaminant particles from staying in your indoor air. If the natural ventilation system is not sufficient, install an exhaust fan or another means of artificial ventilation to get the job done.
2. Stop Allowing Tobacco Inside the House
Tobacco smoke is a significant source of indoor pollution in many houses. The health consequences of smoking cigarettes are nothing to joke about. You need to be firm in forbidding tobacco smoke inside the house. If your family can’t give up smoking yet, make sure they stay outside when they smoke their cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
3. Clean Up Regularly
Sweeping, vacuuming, wiping, and mopping the house are effective in removing daily house dirt such as dead skin cells, pet dander, household residue, and many types of pathogens. The dirt accumulated in the house may get blown up into the air and pollute it. If you are consistent in cleaning your house, there shouldn’t be many particulates in your indoor air. Other cleaning activities that may be beneficial in reducing indoor air particulates are washing your curtains and bedding, giving your pet a proper bath, and maintaining your personal hygiene.
4. Replace Your Air Filters
The filters on your air purifier or air conditioner require replacement at least every six months. Follow the instructions in the manual for more accurate information about how often you should replace the filters for your specific model. If your indoor air quality seems to be getting worse, check your filters more often because you might need to replace them sooner. Using dirty filters may cause overheating or reduce the efficiency of your appliance. Moreover, the dirt that accumulates in your filter may also get blown back to the room.
5. Consider Your Choices of Types of Wood to Burn
If you have a woodstove or a fireplace, you need to consider the types of wood you burn in them. Your woodstove needs to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards and be the proper size. The EPA has released the BurnWise Program for Safe Wood-Burning Practices, which you can use as a guideline.
The EPA is especially concerned about particles that are smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter because they are inhalable. Once inhaled, these particles can get to your vital organs, like the lungs and heart. The health effects may vary, depending on how intense and consistent the exposure is. Hence, it is better to make more of an effort to keep your indoor air clean so you don’t have to deal with the consequences.