air quality http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/17053/all en-US 10 Cheap Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-178598784.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, chest congestion, wheezing, coughing, asthma, nausea, headaches, lung disease, and even cancer are among the many afflictions that can be <a href="http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html">caused by indoor air pollution</a>. Breathing dirty air can affect children, the elderly, and even unborn babies more quickly than others. If you have seen repeated illnesses like those mentioned above, there is a possibility that the air you are breathing in your home is to blame. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home?ref=seealso">Surprisingly Dangerous Things in Your Home</a>)</p> <p>Common pollutants include tobacco smoke, mold, mildew, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, furnaces, fireplaces, asbestos, and formaldehyde (found in carpet, particle board, furniture, and plywood paneling). According to the EPA, pollutants have increased in recent years and have helped to make poor indoor air quality the fourth largest environmental health problem faced in the US.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to improve the air quality in your home. Here are ten ways to clean the air, and improve your health.</p> <h2>1. Never Smoke or Allow Tobacco Smoke Inside Your Home</h2> <p>Tobacco is known to contain 60 cancer-causing chemicals. Secondhand smoke causes lower respiratory tract infections, ear infections, asthma, and pneumonia in children. No amount of secondhand smoke is safe.</p> <h2>2. Test for Radon</h2> <p>According to World Health Organization, radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is also <a href="http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html">the second most important cause of lung cancer</a> (after smoking) in many countries. It can enter the home through cracks and holes in the foundation because it is found in soil; it has also been found in granite countertops. Testing is easy and costs as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N83E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N83E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">little as $20</a>.</p> <h2>3. Reduce the Use of Harmful Chemicals</h2> <p>Avoid using harmful chemicals found in many common laundry and cleaning products. Seek out natural, harmless alternatives to clean your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes?ref=seealso">DIY Laundry Soap Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate air) Filter</h2> <p>HEPA filters can catch much smaller particles than a typical air filter. Many are made with carbon-based materials and can give added protection against common allergens, including pet dander, dust, and mold spores. HEPA filters can be installed into your existing furnace and air conditioner system, or used in stand-alone devices, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007ULBA4W/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007ULBA4W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">HEPA vacuums</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-air-purifiers">air filters</a>.</p> <h2>5. Grow Air-Purifying House Plants</h2> <p>NASA conducted a study to find the <a href="http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Plants/clean.htm">best ways to purify the air on its space stations</a>. These same plants can be used to improve the air quality in your home. Some of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">the best air purifying plants to grow</a> in your home are:</p> <ul> <li>Bamboo Palm &mdash; considered the best plant to grow in your home<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dwarf Date Palm &mdash; great for new homes that could have a high level of formaldehyde<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Janet Craig<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Boston Fern<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>English Ivy &mdash; great for purifying the air of mold<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Areca Palm Tree &mdash; great for purifying the air as well as humidifying it</li> </ul> <h2>6. Remove Aerosol Sprays</h2> <p>Products like hair spray, bug sprays, furniture polish, deodorants, and anything else that comes in an aerosol canister contain propellants that are dispelled into the air when used. While these aren't necessarily deemed a danger to indoor air quality, the particles of product that come out of an aerosol spray are very fine, making them easier to breathe in accidentally than particles from a pump or trigger spray bottle. To be certain that these products don't compromise air quality, they are best to be removed from the home.</p> <h2>7. Improve the Ventilation</h2> <p>If you want to improve the air on the inside, find ways to recirculate it with outdoor air. Open windows as much as possible. Use exhaust fans in both your kitchen and bathroom when appropriate. Install in-home ventilation units that bring more outside air indoors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health?ref=seealso">Cooking Fumes Are Bad For Your Health</a>)</p> <h2>8. Decrease the Possibility for Mold to Grow</h2> <p>Run exhaust fans when taking showers, and be diligent with any leaky pipes, windows, and gutters. Any place for moisture to collect is a place for mold to develop.</p> <h2>9. Clean Regularly</h2> <p>Dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and other toxins can all be removed by vacuuming the carpet and upholstered furniture, cleaning drapery, and dusting regularly. For the best air quality, vacuuming should be done twice a week with a vacuum that has a cleanable filter that will not blow any dust back into the air.</p> <h2>10. Remove Shoes When Entering the Home</h2> <p>People bring in a large number of toxins on the soles of their shoes. These toxins can include animal dander, pollen, feces, harmful chemicals, and much more. Remove shoes upon entering the home and replace them with &quot;inside-only shoes.&quot;</p> <p>Whether you are looking to reduce the number of colds in your family, limit the number of attacks an asthmatic experiences, or safe-guard your home from future illnesses, improving the quality of the air you breathe indoors is easy to do. With a few simple steps, you and your family will be taking in a cleaner, purer, breath of fresh air.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to improve your indoor air quality? Air it out in comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home">10 Surprisingly Dangerous Things You Have in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home air quality home safety indoor air Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:36:23 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1131592 at http://www.wisebread.com Cooking Fumes Are Bad For Your Health http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-1390760-small.jpg" alt="cooking fumes" title="cooking fumes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have taken an interest in improving the nation's air quality &mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/09/04/219012757/kitchen-range-hoods-may-not-be-as-effective-as-they-claim?">it's indoor air quality</a>. More specifically, researchers are studying the quality of the air <em>in your kitchen</em>.</p> <p>That's because a gas stove produces some of the same pollutants responsible for the smog outdoors. In tests of Southern California residential kitchens in which residents cook at least once a week, researchers found the pollutant <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_dioxide#Safety_and_pollution_considerations">nitrogen dioxide</a> at levels higher than the outdoor health limit in more than half the homes tested. As Jennifer Logue of Lawrence Berkeley, who is conducting the research, explained to NPR:</p> <blockquote><p>If you exceeded the standards outdoors, it would be a really big deal,&quot; she says. &quot;But if you exceed them in your house, nobody's paying attention.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>While electric ranges do not produce nitrogen dioxide, all ranges, gas and electric, generate cooking grease and fine particulate pollution. Prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of these pollutants can lead to heart and respiratory problems.</p> <h2>Proper Ventilation</h2> <p>The solution, according to Logue, is a range hood that vents outside. Unfortunately many range hoods vent back into the kitchen, and some of those that do vent outside are only 15% efficient due to the shape of the hood or the strength of the fan.</p> <p>Engineers at Lawrence Berkeley are working on more efficient hood and fan designs, but building codes will have to be updated with kitchen range hood ventilation requirements (such as those required for furnaces and water heaters) before the new designs start appearing in kitchens. That's a complex process involving many government agencies. It could be some time before new regulations and new, more effective range hoods and ventilation systems become widely available.</p> <h2>Steps to Take Now</h2> <p>In the meanwhile, Logue had a few suggestions about how to help reduce the pollution levels in our kitchens:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Cooking Tips</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Always turn your fan on</p> </li> <li> <p>Cook on the back burners</p> </li> <li> <p>Use highest fan setting</p> </li> <li> <p>Clean grease traps periodically</p> </li> <li> <p>If you don't have a hood, open windows</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Tips for Buying a New Range Hood</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Look for one that covers the entire stovetop</p> </li> <li> <p>It should move 200 cubic feet of air per minute, certified by the Home Ventilating Institute</p> </li> <li> <p>Choose a noise rating of 3 sones or less for a quieter fan</p> </li> <li> <p>Choose a hood shape with a hollow space underneath for collecting fumes</p> </li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><em>What's the air like in your kitchen?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money">10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Home air quality kitchen kitchen safety kitchen vent pollution Thu, 05 Sep 2013 20:34:31 +0000 Lars Peterson 981776 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7159634397_6dcac9f546_z.jpg" alt="potted plants" title="potted plants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't have much of a green thumb. In fact, I've managed to kill every house plant I've ever owned &mdash; even things as basic as cactus and bamboo. But it's not for lack of trying. We currently have four plants in our home, all still living (or eking by) after owning them for the past year. However, I imagine that sometime soon I will again have to invest in another plant.</p> <p>Because my house seems to be a plant death trap, it's necessary that I buy plants that are on the cheaper side. I've also been intrigued by plants that improve the air quality of my home. After doing some research I've put together this set of the best plants that will improve your indoor air quality &mdash; all while on a budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a>)</p> <h2>Plants That Improve Air Quality: The Research</h2> <p>There are two great sources to learn about plants that improve indoor air quality: <a target="_blank" href="http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077_1993073077.pdf">The NASA Clear Air Study</a> (PDF), and a TED talk by Kamal Meattle entitled &quot;<a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/kamal_meattle_on_how_to_grow_your_own_fresh_air.html">How to Grow Fresh Air</a>.&quot; If you'd rather see a condensed version than read through the study or watch the video, Wikipedia has a great chart that lists <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_air-filtering_plants">air-filtering plants</a>.</p> <p>In short, the research examines how various pollutants &mdash; including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, ammonia, and benzene &mdash; are filtered by indoor house plants. (Don't think these are in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners">your home's air</a>? Sadly, they are released by things as common as ink, foam, and plastic bags.) It turns out that in a fairly short span of time, plants can make a dramatic difference in your air quality. Meattle recommends as many as four plants per person (depending on the plant), but I think that one is better than none.</p> <h2>Best Plants for Indoor Air Quality</h2> <p>Based on these studies, I selected the plants that either Meattle listed in his talk or those plants that filtered four or five pollutants summarized by the Air Filtering Plants list mentioned above. I've then ranked them by price as found using Google's Shopping tool to determine the best cheap plants for the best indoor air quality.</p> <p><b>1. Mother-in-Law's Tongue / Snake Plant</b></p> <p>Mother-in-Law's Tongue is recommended by Meattle and the NASA study. Depending on the size of the plant and the number of stems, Mother-in-Law's Tongue will cost you anywhere from $15 for a basic plant to $70 at Sam's Club for a snake plant with 50 stems. It filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene. It's recommended that you put it in the bedroom, as it converts CO2 into oxygen at night.</p> <p><b>2. Golden Pothos / Devil's Ivy / Money Plant (<em>Epipremnum Aureum</em>)</b></p> <p>Golden Pothos or Devil's Ivy is recommended by Meattle and NASA and can be easily purchased at Home Depot and Walmart (I've even seen it at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ikea-survival-guide">Ikea</a>) for starting around $15. It filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene.</p> <p><b>3. Pot Mum or Florist's Chrysanthemum</b></p> <p>The Pot Mum is not readily available as a potted plant online, but it's very frugal if you're up for a little bit of work. For under $5 you can buy seeds and grow your own. (I didn&rsquo;t rank it as the top frugal choice because of the extra work required to grow it.) The Chysanthemum flowers nicely and removes formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, ammonia, and benzene from the air.</p> <p><b>4. Peace Lily</b></p> <p>Peace Lilies are beautiful plants and can be purchased for between $35-$50 depending on the plant's size. Like the Pot Mum, it filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, ammonia, and benzene.</p> <p><b>5. Red-Edged Dracaena</b></p> <p>Recommended by NASA, the red-edged dracaena is found in many retail stores and online starting at around $35. This plant filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene.</p> <p><b>6. Areca Palm</b></p> <p>Meattle suggests this plant (but it wasn't included in the NASA study) because of its oxygen-making qualities. It filters xylene and toluene. It's a much larger plant than the others (and looks great in the living room), and it starts at around $45 per plant.</p> <p>Personally, I would mix up the flowering plants (the Peace Lily and Pot Mum) with the non-flowering plants for the most variety, but I like that Meattle suggests just three plants (the Areca Palm, Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and Money Plant). The real question &mdash; which is hardest to kill for a non-gardener like me?</p> <p><em>Do you have plants in your home specifically to improve air quality? Do they seem to help?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">Garden Ideas for Small Spaces</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health">Cooking Fumes Are Bad For Your Health</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home">10 Cheap Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home air quality cheap plants container gardening Wed, 09 Jan 2013 11:24:29 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 961782 at http://www.wisebread.com