• A student at my daughter’s school did a science project about air pollution. The child tested the air quality by taking paper plates with glue on them and placing them in various parts of the home, neighborhood and even city (father’s office window, grandparents’ home, etc). The result demonstrated which areas had dirtier air within our neighborhood and within the larger scope of our city. This simple, yet creative approach got me thinking, how clean is the air in my home? I can read all of the news reports and analyze air quality graphs, but for some reason, seeing this specific project was what really motivated me.

    I keep hearing about air filters for the home being good so, I asked an environmental scientist friend of mine if they really are worth the hype. She said that most devices, if maintained properly, do keep indoor air cleaner. The problem is that when not properly maintained, they can cause more harm by polluting your air with mold and other pollutants.

    The end result was that I didn’t get the air filter because we don’t have allergies or asthma (luckily). Truthfully, I really can’t handle one more thing to tend to, the air filter is akin to having a small pet it seems. With a newborn and small children in my household, I don’t want to worry about maintenance on anything extra right now. I do intend to get one at some point in the near future though. In the meantime, things we can all do to keep indoor air cleaner:

    • *  Check local pollution levels.
    • *  Use our fancy vented hood range to extract smoke and other air from the kitchen.
    • *  Open windows more to let in fresh air circulate (but not on high pollution days).
    • *  Use exhaust fans in areas with steam and water (laundry room, bathrooms, kitchens).
    • *  No air fresheners (with VOCs and synthetic chemicals) or similarly scented candles in the house (I will make my own with essential oils in a spray bottle).
    • *  Implementing a “shoes-off policy” is another way to keep the dirt and lead out of our homes. We do it in my house and many people I know have a “shoes-off policy,” much to the chagrin of more conventional guests. 
    • *  Use the fireplace less and when I do, only burn fully dry wood that hasn’t been treated.

    Hopefully in the near future, when I have more time to maintain one, I will get an indoor air filter. Ultimately, I think it’s worth the price and the hassle because I live on a busy street in a congested city. Perhaps I will do a paper plate with glue project around my home to motivate me to finally buy one!