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Your behavior at home influences indoor air quality

Indoor air quality can be affected by many factors, from chemicals in your living room carpeting to mold in your bathroom. But another major ingredient involves your behavior. Quite simply, many of your activities inside your home can impact the air you breathe. Here are some examples:

Smoking cigarettes
Smoking is at the top of the list of habits that can harm the quality of the air. Second-hand smoke has been shown to cause cancer, in addition to releasing harmful chemicals into the air. If you have to smoke, going outside may be your best bet to keep your indoor air safer.

Engaging in certain hobbies
Your stamp collection probably won’t pollute their air, but there are plenty of hobbies that can. Most important are pastimes requiring the use of certain chemicals or solvents, like furniture refinishing. You may be using varnishes and other products that emit potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For that reason, do the work in a detached garage and use an exhaust fan or move the project outside. Using a breathing mask is also a good idea.

Using an unvented gas heater
Gas space heaters and fireplaces can emit water vapor and, in some cases, carbon monoxide. Your best defense is making sure your heaters are adjusted properly and adequately vented. If your vent system operates correctly, pollutants will escape to the outdoors through the vent pipe.

Burning scented candles
Yes, they’re romantic, atmospheric and beautiful. But some researchers have found the paraffin in these candles can release harmful particulates into the air, including heavy metals. Prolonged exposure can lead not only to lung problems but also cancer, according to one study. So, think about swapping in unscented beeswax candles.

Forgetting about that exhaust fan
The exhaust fan in your bathroom or over your oven isn’t there for decoration. It helps to dissipate particulates, humidity and aerosols from the air, reducing mold and VOCs in the process. Your best move is easy: Turn on the fan.

Using a wood-burning stove
Lots of people love wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. But you can release a host of potentially harmful substances, like formaldehyde and particulate matter, when using them. As you might expect, newer, well-cared for models are more efficient than older, poorly maintained counterparts.

Finally, another step you can take is using a smart air purifier with a HEPA filter, like Airmega. It can filter up to 99.97 percent of VOCs, particulate matter and mold spores which can be harmful to your health. That way, you can kick back, take a deep breath—and enjoy being home.