How to improve the air quality in your home

Did you know the air quality indoors can be up to five times more polluted than outside due to insufficient ventilation?

Alarmingly, we’re breathing in a build-up of pollutants including mould, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), released into the air as paint dries, and the array of cleaning and aerosol fumes we regularly use. Ingesting this fine dust over a long period can cause respiratory difficulties, aggravate allergies, and contribute to heart and lung problems. 

Think your air could be a little cleaner? Kitchens Bedrooms and Bathrooms journo Sally Smith has the solutions for you…

Extractor near bed to improve air quality
Meaco’s MeacoDry Arete One, from £159.99, is a combined dehumidifier and air purifier. It has smart control including laundry and night modes. It has a low noise level of 40dB and comes in 10, 12, 20, and 25 litre-sizes. 

How can you improve the air quality in your home?

Air purification units can remove up to 99% of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns using sophisticated filters, including pet dander and pollen. These compact appliances monitor the air quality conditions and then auto adjust to optimise performance.

However, the clean air delivery rate does vary between brands. A rate of 190 cubic m per hour will clear a large open-plan living space in around 16 minutes. And a lower rate is ideal for a nursery or smaller bedroom.

air purifier on side table
Philips’ 800 Series air purifier is suitable for rooms up to 49 sq m and can clear the air in less than 16 minutes.

A dehumidifier will prevent condensation building up – which over time can create problems with mould, causing damp and unhealthy air. These units are particularly useful in a utility or room where you dry laundry. They’re also worth using when you are doing any renovations, especially if you need wet plaster or paint to dry.

Combined air purifiers and dehumidifiers are a cost-effective option. They can be easily moved between rooms to keep clean and dry air throughout the home. 

dining room with Little Greene paint
Re:mix by Little Greene is a collection of unwanted paints, reformulated into practically VOC-free matt finishes. Available in a curated palette of 20 colours, only online. Shown here are Nether Red and Slaked Lime, £28 for 2.5 litres each.

Effective extraction

When it comes to extraction, it might be worth investing in more sophisticated overhead units. They’re great in an open-plan kitchen and living area because they not only remove cooking smells, but also include ionising filters that will balance out unwanted humidity.

Dark kitchen with island with an extractor to improve air quality
The Marilyn E.ion pendant extractor, from Falmec, with ionising air purification system and perimeter suction, £2800.

The latest models have auto control and such low decibel levels that they can be left on without causing much background noise. If you are installing a completely new heating or cooling system, investigate the options of air purification.

Downdraft extractor on hob
The iQ700 induction hob with integrated ventilation system, £3719, from Siemens, includes a climate control sensor. It measures steam intensity and cooking fumes to automatically optimise the air circulation in your kitchen.

And, at the very least, make sure you can open all your windows easily to allow fresh air to circulate daily to improve the air quality. Also consider installing remote systems that can be solar-powered for skylights in extensions and lofts to give you the flexibility to open and shut them throughout the day. 

roof window in loft bedroom
The Velux 3-in-1 roof windows are ideal for medium to large rooms. They are available in two sizes, for either manual opening, from £1319, or solar-powered for remote control, from £2169.

Featured image: Blue 3210 air purification, £179, Blueair.

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