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Tips To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home | AD

This post on tips to improve indoor air quality in your home is paid-for content in association with brivv.

When we think of air pollution, we tend to think of the air outdoors. We don’t often give the air quality inside our homes a second thought. 

However, with reports suggesting that the air quality inside our homes can often be two to five times worse than outdoors, it’s definitely an issue worth paying attention to.

Particularly so, over the last two years, when we have all spent more time indoors than possibly ever before, indoor air pollution is something we should all be considering.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Image of a stylish air filter beside a bed with a blue text box that says five ways to improve indoor air quality in your home  - AD.

If you are looking to take action, then here are my five top tips to tangibly improve the air quality in your home both today and in the mid to long term.

1. Add Houseplants

Plants are an easy and cost-effective way to improve indoor air quality. 

One particularly famous NASA study from the 1980s found that several common houseplants may remove carcinogenic air-borne chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air.  These included the Peace Lily, Mother In Law’s Tongue, Ficus, Marginata, Gerbera, and Bamboo Palm.

Later research by scientists in 2004 also supported NASA’s findings. Their studies additionally indicated that micro-organisms in the soil of houseplants can help to purify the air too. So, add a plant, and breathe a little easier.

3. Invest In An Air Filter To Improve Indoor Air Quality

brivv air filter

Air filters can be a great way to improve your indoor air quality. However, think carefully about which filter you buy. With conventional air filters, the filter needs to be replaced every 6-8 months. Standard air filters generally cannot be recycled. As such, each year 6000 tonnes of HEPA filters are sent to landfill each year.

The brivv air filter is different. Using 90% natural and renewable materials, briiv is the most sustainable air filter there is right now. Using three fully biodegradable filters, briiv uses the natural micro-structures of sustainably sourced moss, coconut, carbon, and silk to filter air and improve your indoor air quality. In fact, brivv says that one brivv air filter is equal to having 3,043 medium-sized houseplants in your home.

The brivv air filter captures pollen, allergens, bacteria, mould spores, harmful fine dust, and VOCs, quickly, quietly, and in an energy-efficient manner. In fact, brivv has calculated that it costs just £2.02 per year to run.

brivv natural air filter

briiv also uses fewer plastics than any other air purifier on the market. There is also significantly less waste when it comes to changing the filter. The moss and coconut coir can be composted, and it is just a small mesh matrix filter that goes in your household bin.

I was sent a brivv air filter to test for a couple of weeks and I have to say I am impressed. It looks incredibly stylish – looking more like a glass terrarium than a piece of technology. It’s also much lower maintenance than a house plant – the moss does not need watering!

I’ve noticed that cooking smells and odours from burning candles don’t linger as long as they used to, and rooms feel incredibly fresh. Where the brivv has been running, entering the room feels like walking into a room that has had the window open all day.

And while plant-based, it certainly isn’t low tech. You can control your brivv from your smartphone, so you can have it running at your preferred setting before you even get home. Clever!

2. Consider Your Use of Paint

The paint you use when decorating your home can really impact your indoor air quality. This is because many paints, particularly latex-based paints off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for around three to five years. In some cases, they can off-gas for up to 10 years. 

These VOCs are present in paint to improve how well it adheres to walls, decrease dry time, and keep your walls looking fresh. Therefore, the next time you are decorating, opt for low or zero-VOC paint to help reduce any indoor air pollution.

4. Switch to Natural Cleaning Products

homemade cleaning products to improve indoor air quality

Not on board with using natural cleaning products yet? Well, researchers have found that cleaning your home with conventional cleaning products may be as bad for your health as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. This is because many conventional cleaning products give off VOCs that linger in the air that we breathe.

Making your own natural cleaning products is one easy yet effective way to improve the indoor air quality in your home.

If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, you can buy planet (and lung) friendly cleaning products. Check out my guide to the best eco-friendly cleaning products.

5. Switch to an Electric Hob

As well as cooking your dinner, burning your gas hob also generates toxic pollutants in our homes, including nitrogen oxides. According to an article in the Guardian, gas hobs produce air pollution levels indoors that would be illegal outdoors and can lead to an increased risk of asthma.

If your hob breaks, or when you are next upgrading your kitchen, consider switching to an electric hob. We’ve switched to an electric induction hob, which is much more energy-efficient than gas and doesn’t negatively impact our indoor air quality. I never thought I’d be a convert to cooking on an electric hob, but it’s a much better cooking experience, and contributes to cleaner air in our home.

Home, Home and Garden

How To Set A Timer On A Boiler – An Illustrated Guide

Have you moved into a new house with a mechanical boiler timer, and don’t know what you’re doing with it? Don’t worry, I have a mechanical timer, so let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler. I’ve got a step-by-step photographic guide to make things as easy as possible.

I’ve written about setting the timer on your boiler in the past in order to save energy.  But the other day it dawned on me: what if you don’t know how to set a timer? Don’t worry. Let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler.

I have a combi boiler and it has one of those mechanical timers on it. Being used to digital timers I’ll admit I was a little flummoxed by it when we first moved into our house. I did a bit of internet searching and found this useful video about how to set a mechanical boiler timer. 

Video Guide on How to Set Your Boiler Timer

The video should appear above. If you can’t see the video in your browser, then here’s a direct link to the video in YouTube.

Although it is made for Worcester boilers, this video is actually really useful for most makes of boilers. It certainly did the trick for our Valiant boiler. This is because almost all mechanical timers work exactly the same, regardless of the make.

Step By Step Boiler Guide With Photos

If you can’t get the video to work, or if you would prefer a step by step guide that walks you through setting a timer at your own pace, then let me run you through exactly how to set a timer on a boiler. You’ll soon have yours working in no time:

1. Set the time on your boiler

First of all, ignore all the little tabs for now. What you need to do first is set the clock to the right time.

You can do this by turning the dial around clockwise until the arrow points to the correct time in the inner portion of the dial. It’s important to bear in mind that boilers work on the 24-hour clock.  So make sure you’ve set it to 24 hour clock time, otherwise, your heating will come out at odd hours of the night! If it’s 1:30 pm (13:30 in 24-hour clock speak) then you want the arrow to be halfway between the 13 and 14.

2. Now set the time when you want your boiler to come on

Once the time is set correctly, you can now set the times that you would like your heating to come on and go off at.

This is where the little tabs come in. These tabs on a mechanical boiler timer can be overwhelming as there are so many. However, I promise you that they are not as confusing as they look.  All that they do is represent 15 minute periods of time. 

To set what time you want your boiler to turn on, simply push those tabs in for the times that you want your heating on. Let me talk you through this, in case this sounds complicated.

After you’ve set the time properly on your boiler, you’ll notice that each tab lines up with each 15-minute segment of the 24-hour clock. So, to tell your boiler that you want your heating to come on between 5:45 am and 7:30 am, you are going to want to push in all of the tabs that represent that period of time.

Once you’ve done this you should have all 7 consecutive tabs pushed down between 5:45 am and 7:30 am. All of the other tabs should be up.

Here’s a picture of my boiler timer so you can see what I mean.

how to set a timer on a boiler

When I took the photo, the time was 1 pm so you can see that the arrow points to 1 pm (13). You can also see that my heating is set to come on twice a day.  Firstly between 5:45 am and 7:30 am (we are early birds!).  And secondly between 6 pm and 8 pm.  If you look closely you’ll notice the tabs are down at these times, and all of the other tabs are up. It can be quite tricky to see so I have annotated the photo to make this a bit clearer.

It’s quite easy to accidentally twist the dial and change the time when you’re adjusting the tabs. Therefore, you may have to readjust the time at this stage! Just something to be aware of.

3. Next Steps

Now you need to tell your boiler that you want it to run to your scheduled programme. To do this, simply turn the switch that you would normally switch the boiler on to point to automatic scheduling. This may take the form of a picture of a clock or of a stopwatch.  It will depend on your boiler – mine’s a stopwatch. Your boiler should now come on and then switch off automatically at the desired times!  And that’s how to set a timer on a boiler!

Energy Efficiency Tips

I always love a two-for-one deal. So as well as telling you how to set the timer on your boiler, do let me share with you my top energy efficiency tip for your boiler.

It typically takes about half an hour for your house to warm up once you’ve switched your boiler on.  It then takes around half an hour for your house to cool down again once it’s switched off. So, with that in mind, if you get up at 7:30 am and leave the house at 8.30 am, it’s most energy-efficient and comfortable for you if you set your boiler timer for your heating to come on at 7 am and off at 8 am.

ps: you can find lots of energy-saving tips here if you’re looking to save money on your heating bills!