How can I improve my indoor air quality?

As an individual, one has limited influence on the quality of the outdoor air. Therefore, the first step towards a healthier life is to improve the air quality in one's own home, within the limits set by the quality of the outdoor air.

A key realization in recent years is that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air quality. The goal should be to minimize this difference in quality as much as possible. A continuous supply of fresh outdoor air is essential in this regard.

Air purifiers provide no or only limited relief. Often, they create merely the impression of better air quality without addressing the actual problem. Further details on this can be found under Why air purifiers can make u sick

Merely tilting windows open is often insufficient, especially at night when there is a lack of necessary wind movement outside.

Similarly, the often-recommended practice of airing out rooms quickly is not a real option in our experience, as this does not take into account significant issues. See more on this under Why is intermittent ventilation ineffective?

CO2 as a Reference

In many explanations for improving indoor air quality, CO2 is mentioned. However, it's important to recognize that there are a variety of other pollutants present indoors. CO2 is particularly useful for simply assessing the efficiency of ventilation. This is primarily because we exhale this gas, ensuring its constant and guaranteed presence in the room. Moreover, CO2 concentration increases more rapidly than other pollutants in cases of insufficient ventilation. Also, devices for measuring CO2 are relatively inexpensive.

By providing sufficient fresh air from outside to lower the CO2 concentration, other common indoor pollutants are also reduced. These include radon, fine dust, bacteria, viruses, and various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Effective ventilation also reduces other pollutants that enter from outside and accumulate indoors.

However, it should be noted that while CO2 levels rise quickly and can be rapidly reduced by ventilation, other pollutants, especially VOCs, remain in the indoor environment much longer. This is because they emanate from clothing, carpets, and furniture, as well as being produced by mold and bacteria in inaccessible places. Therefore, while a specific CO2 concentration target is helpful in determining whether ventilation is adequate, one should not immediately stop ventilating just because the CO2 level is below this threshold.

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