The average American spends 90% of their time indoors, where we take for granted that our air is clean and pure. But while we may check the weather forecast for smog and pollen count to find out the status of outdoor air, many homeowners haven’t thought about air quality inside their homes.
People have, however, gotten more concerned about indoor air quality since the pandemic. According to Shelton Group Pulse research, 37% of respondents are more concerned about indoor air quality now as compared to before the pandemic. And that’s a good thing, because the concentration of certain pollutants can be up to 2-5% worse indoors than outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This can be influenced by the products you choose for your home
Indoor air quality: a solvable problem
First, it’s important to identify what affects the indoor air quality of our homes.
Common pollutants include dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and chemicals of concern like volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Allergy triggers like pollen, smoke, and ozone can leak indoors from outside. Those who suffer from seasonal allergies or allergic asthma already know the struggle. But there’s one major culprit impacting indoor air quality we may not suspect: Ourselves.
That’s right: We are sometimes responsible for bringing allergens and pollutants unknowingly into our own homes. For example, we may bring pollen inside on our shoes or clothes. We may also buy products that we don’t realize contribute to poor indoor air quality that slowly releases toxic chemicals into the air.
Of course, all homes will have some degree of infiltration. Though you can’t get rid of all factors that can harm indoor air quality, you can take steps to reduce indoor allergens.
Three ways to support indoor air quality
The EPA offers 3 main strategies — source control, increased ventilation, and air cleaners — to improve air quality. When used together, they give you the best chance of breathing easy in your home.
Source control is the most effective way for you to reduce the indoor allergens present in your home. It means fundamentally reducing your exposure to air pollution; for example, by introducing products that are certified to promote good indoor air quality.
When flooring is the foundation of your home, you want it to contain as few chemicals of concern as possible!
Not only do Beautifully Responsible® resilient floors come in water-resistant varieties that are easy to keep clean of allergens without harsh chemicals, many of our partners offer flooring that is independently certified to comply with high standards for indoor air quality.
The third-party FloorScore® certifies hard surface flooring, adhesives, and underlayments for low levels of VOCs and other chemicals of concern. Information on FloorScore® can be found here.
Ventilating your home regularly makes it less likely that allergens will accumulate and cause harm.
Let fresh air into your home regularly by opening the windows.
You can also use mechanical ventilation, like electric or ceiling fans, to increase air circulation in your home. This is a good option for times when you don’t want to open windows, or in addition to opening windows.
If you need to paint something, do it outside whenever possible. Keep windows open when using harsh cleaning products.
Air purifiers are a great way to filter indoor air without too much extra effort. This device combines an internal filter and fan to capture airborne particles from pet dander, pollen, and dust, and circulate purified air back into the room.
The EPA recommends air purifiers with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. You can look at the air cleaners recommended by a program like asthma & allergy friendly® to minimize triggers of asthma and allergy. Be sure to change your filters regularly for best performance.
Your next steps
To reduce indoor allergens at the source, choose flooring that contributes to an indoor environment with better air quality for your whole family.