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2012 Resolutions: Cleaner Air For Your Home In The New Year (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 12/28/11 02:34 PM ET   Updated: 12/28/11 02:34 PM ET

From Mother Nature Network:

According to the EPA, most of us spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. That seems about right to me, especially in the wintertime (though in the summer, I'm able to work outside on some days, so it's much lower then). And although there are plenty of laws and regulations about outdoor air pollution, most of us don't give a second thought to the air in our homes.

But we should: "... a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors," advises the EPA.

You could choose to invest in an air purifier or filter (I added one when I upgraded the forced-air heating system in my home a couple of years ago), but getting significantly cleaner, healthier air in your home doesn't have to come from making big changes or even spending any money. Starting with the simplest idea:

List and captions courtesy of Mother Nature Network. Images courtesy of credited Flickr users.

Air out your home regularly
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How often you should do this really depends on your heating system; if you have a woodstove or fireplace, I would air out once a day (or on the days that you use them). In my own home, which doesn't have a fireplace, I try to air out every other day. Airing out the house involves a five- to 10-minute purge of the air in your home by opening the front and back doors (and storm doors) and letting in the fresh air from outdoors. As mentioned above, even in cities, outdoor air is cleaner than indoor, and apartment dwellers can do this too, by opening up windows on opposite sides of the apartment. Of course you can just open one window or door, but using two will create an airflow and will change the air more efficiently. In my house, I try to choose the warmest part of the day so as not to waste heat (I turn the furnace off, too), and will leave the door open an extra few minutes on warmer days, only three to five minutes on cold days. It's amazing how much fresher and better your home smells when you regularly air it out.

Flickr image courtesy of glasseyes view.
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Filed by James Gerken  |