Home, Home and Garden, sponsored

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.

Energy Saving, Home and Garden, sponsored

A Guide to Window Insulation to Help Save Energy | AD

This post on window insulation is paid-for content in association with the Mzuri Group.

With energy bills rocketing skywards, it’s never been a better time to look at making your home more energy-efficient. While there are many ways to save energy in the home, one impactful way to save on your heating bills is to turn your attention to your windows. This is because windows are a major source of heat loss in our homes, with some sources estimating that we lose anywhere between 10 to 40% of the heat in our homes

The good news is that you don’t have to replace your windows to improve the insulation in your home. Both blinds and shutters can work as effective window insulation methods. This is particularly important for heating the home during the colder months in order to save on our energy usage. 

How Do Shutters Provide Window Insulation?

Shutters from Shutterly Fabulous
Stylish Shutters from Shutterly Fabulous

When you think of shutters, you might think of their use for security or privacy. You might not think that shutters could help save you energy, and make your home feel warmer by improving the insulation of your windows.

However, Historic England did some research into the thermal performance of windows. Within the study, they looked at how much heat was lost through the glass and the frame of a window. They also tested some simple insulation methods to see how effective they were at preventing heat loss. What was particularly interesting was that they found that shutters, and other thermal window coverings, could provide the same heat savings in single-glazed properties as installing double glazing.

The caveat is that the shutters must be well-fitted. If your shutters don’t fit properly, then that can leave room for warm air to escape or for draughts to sweep in. For maximum heat retention, opt for full-height solid panel shutters that are not louvered or slatted.

For particularly draughty homes, Historic England also found that adding draught-proofing measures to your windows, or installing secondary glazing, as well as shutters could make a massive difference to the warmth of your home.

If you are interested in installing shutters in your home, then do check out the range at Shutterly Fabulous. Their team will measure, advise and install your custom shutters for a perfect fit that helps keep your home cosy.

Shutterly Fabulous’s solid shutters are constructed from hardwood. Specifically, Paulownia wood. This is a strong yet lightweight material that adds a thick layer of insulation to your windows. And for an additional benefit, this helps reduce noise and helps blackout light whilst you are sleeping.

What About Thermal Blinds?

insulated bedroom blinds from swift direct

If shutters aren’t your thing, and you are just looking for blinds that offer window insulation, then a good eco-friendly choice would be Swift Direct Blinds.

They offer a range of thermal energy-saving blinds that are made from specially treated thermal fabric. This helps to prevent heat from escaping from your home during winter, helping to keep your home warmer. What’s more, in the summer they reflect solar heat, keeping your living space cooler. This means thermal blinds are a great all-year-round option.

The other good news is that you don’t have to compromise on your decor. Their range of thermal energy-saving blinds comes in a wide range of colours and blind styles. This means you can find a blind that compliments your interior decor style.

Are There Other Eco-Friendly Blinds Options?

A window with insulation in the form of blinds
Swift Direct’s Eco-Friendly Range of Recycled Blinds

Swift Direct Blinds manufactures blinds from recycled materials. All the blinds in their eco-friendly range are manufactured from fabric that is made from at least 80% recycled PET plastic waste.  This means that for every square metre of fabric, around 9 PET bottles are used.

Meanwhile, their range of Arona Light Filtering blinds are constructed from an upcycled fabric that is woven with yarns made from recycled plastic waste.  These are all made to measure in the UK, and come with a five-year guarantee as standard.

Whilst standard blinds do not offer as much window insulation as properly fitted shutters or thermal blinds, how you use your blinds can make a difference to your energy bills. Closing your blinds at dusk in winter helps to minimise the heat lost through your windows. However, don’t be tempted to keep them closed all day. Opening them again in the morning helps to maximise passive solar energy, making your home warmer.

Meanwhile, in summer, the opposite is true. Keeping your blinds closed when the sun is shining in your window, and opening them again in the evening, can help keep your house feeling cooler.

So there you have it – how you can keep your warm cosy in winter and cool in the summer, without having to upgrade your windows.