Tips to Improve Air Quality in your Apartment

Source: WSJ Blog, Air Pollution in Delhi
Source: WSJ Blog, Air Pollution in Delhi

Most major cities in India suffer from poor air quality, and there are times it becomes a serious health hazard for the entire city’s population. Delhi NCR and other parts of northern India have seen some severe episodes of pollution in the past few years. While policy makers try to determine what they can do at a broader level, here are some things we can do in our homes to reduce the level of pollutants.

Plants for air purification

Peace lilies
Source: Mother Nature Network, Peace lilies

We live in a day and age with fancy expensive gadgets. However, whatever you can do naturally is preferable to using gizmos. NASA has published a list of plants that naturally remove the toxins from the air and make it more breathable. As a thumb rule one plant per room in the house will make your air much cleaner.

Link: Some plants to consider

Invest in an air purifier

Having an air purifier around the house may be a good supplement to your plants, especially when conditions are extremely bad outside. While we aren’t going to begin to try to evaluate the air purifiers in the market, we will say that go for a purifier with a HEPA filter and no ozone emissions.

Clean your filters

Clean your filters
Source: Crucial Vacuum, Clean your filters

Make sure you keep you filters clean, whether its for your air purifiers, or your ACs and heaters.

Air out your space

If possible, during the time of the day when the air is the cleanest, open up your windows to let some outside air in. There are some toxins, emissions that are produced inside your house that no purifier will help with.

Buy a vacuum cleaner

While vacuum cleaners aren’t common in India, it may be time for us to start investing in one if we have carpets in the house. Carpets accumulate plenty of dust, and what’s thrown up during sweeping can be quite harmful to inhale. A vacuum will help suck in the dirt so it doesn’t spread into the air around us.

Avoid Incense sticks

Incense sticks are common around the house whether for religious purposes or fragrance. However, its yet another source for particulate matter in your house that can be avoided.

Use natural cleaning products (non-toxic)

Some of our house-cleaning products have chemicals in them, which are harmful and make us uncomfortable when inhaled. While this may be hard to do, it can help to try to find natural alternatives to the chemical cleaners so you don’t spread air pollutants in your home every day.

Groom your pets

Groom your pets
Groom your pets

Your pets are fuzzy, furry creatures that you like to cozy up to. However at the same time the fur attracts dust and particulates, which can do you harm. Keep your pets groomed regularly to minimize impact.

 

Some of these may not move the needle largely on their own when it comes to reducing air pollution but they are small things you can do in your home to make things better.

Home Safety

    While we do take care of safety norms in commercial complexes, we tend to ignore safety at home, assuming that the chances of a fire, robbery or any such unwanted mishaps are minimal. Little do we realize, one incident is enough to shake lives.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while catering for safety at home and in offices:

SAFETY FOR HOME

Products:

  • CCTvs
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Detectors and alarms
CAT5 Cable

2

CCTvs

    While installing CCTvs one needs to be very sure about the cabling. It is important to plan ahead and take a look at the blueprint when the electrical wiring is being done, to ensure the cables for the CCTv are laid at the same time.

    It’s also important to choose a cable that will run for a long time. One of the best cables to use for long cable run are CAT5 cables, because they are more cost effective over long distances than coax cables and therefore will save you money. CAT5 cables are also much better at transmitting energy as well as video, so that the security cameras can be powered from long distances. They also have eight separate wires inside of them, so they are capable of supporting four channels at a time.

 

5

4

Fire Extinguishers

  • Place Fire Extinguishers within reach on every level of your home
  • Install close to exits, and in the kitchen and garage. Include all locations where a fire may start.
  • Check the gauge monthly to be sure it is pressurized.
  • Replace fire extinguishers that are over 12 years old or after use.

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you have just two minutes to escape?

    The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.

Fire Safety Tips

  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

 

7

6 8

Detectors and Alarms

  • Replace Smoke Alarms every 10 years
  • Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises).
  • Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
  • There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended.
  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Ensure the batteries in the Smoke Alarm are changed annually
  • When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

    Hope this article helps you plan the safety of your housing projects better. Here are some Safety products you could use http://ow.ly/QBqry

Safety tips during construction and renovation

The concept of renovation insurance is rare in India, which is why it is important that you pay extra attention to the safety measures been taken by your contractor, both for the safety of your house as well as the labor on site whose health and safety is most often ignored. Here are some pointers on how to stay vigilant.

  1. Don’t allow smoking during construction.
  2. Remove combustible debris from site everyday.
  3. Provide fire extinguishers.
  4. Store paints, solvents and combustible material safely.
  5. Also dispose of solvent stained cloth safely.
  6. Make sure that the labor is wearing protective gear: helmets, face masks, gloves etc.
  7. Keep the air clean: painting, sanding, adhesives etc. cause toxic fumes which should never be inhaled.
  8. Keep the fan on and try and do as much of the work outdoors as possible.
  9. Insist on keeping children (yours or anyone else’s) away from the construction, same for pets.

Feel free to suggest any other safety tips you have in mind, in the comment section.