Indoor Air Care Month: The History & How You Can Celebrate

February is Indoor Air Care Month, which is a great time to start thinking about the air quality in your home and take small steps to improve it. 

And so, to celebrate, let’s talk about the history of air care month and where the development of air quality monitors began. Then, we’ll talk about why you should care about the air quality in your home, and what you can do to make improvements to air quality and the planet.

History of Air Care Month

Air quality monitors have helped us to have a better understanding of the quality of the air around us and see why we should care about air quality.

Canaries were used as the first method of measuring air quality in the late 1800s all the way until the 1980s. Typically, they were used in coal mines to provide advanced warning of toxic gases and played an essential role in minor safety.

In 1974, the first photoionization detector (PID) was introduced as a hand-held instrument for continuous sensing to detect leaks for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These first machines were bulky, heavy (9 pounds), and they had a separate hand-held probe and a controller carried by a shoulder strap.

In 2006, air quality monitoring started to progress, but it wasn’t until 2019 that mobile air sensing became mainstream. Now, with PurpleAir’s air quality monitors, you can always know the PM2.5 pollutant levels in your home—an important first step in improving your indoor air.

Why We Should All Care About Air Quality

We know that air pollution is a major factor contributing to climate change, and we should do what we can to reduce air pollution, such as driving less. But the air quality inside our homes is better, right?

No, not necessarily. Many different activities you engage in impact your indoor air quality, including cooking and cleaning, which can raise particulate matter levels. And worse, the prolonged exposure to poor air quality can lead to serious respiratory illnesses.

Good indoor air quality also improves comfort, as regularly maintained temperatures and humidity levels alone allow you to breathe more easily and sleep better.

How to Celebrate Air Quality Month

There are several things we can all do to celebrate air care month and improve air quality.

#1 - Reduce air pollution.

Want to avoid exposure to indoor air pollution? Reducing pollution is the number one way of contributing to better air quality. Here are a few ways you can reduce air pollution:

  • Reduce the amount you drive. Use transit, bike, walk, or carpool whenever possible. Keep your car engine properly tuned and your tires properly inflated.
  • Use environmentally safe products, like paints and cleaning products indoors.
  • Conserve your energy. Unplugging appliances, turning off lights, and using LED lights reduce your energy use.
  • Throw out food waste correctly. Mulch or compost your leaves and yard waste.
  • Stop burning wood. Reduce or eliminate woodburning heating methods such as fireplaces and wood stoves.

#2 - Invest in an air purifier.

Air purifiers are portable devices that use an internal filter and fan to pull unwanted particles from the air. The air is purified and then circulated back into the room, reducing poor indoor air quality. The filtration process repeats several times an hour to continually improve indoor air quality.

If you don’t own an air purifier yet and aren’t ready to invest in one, here is a simple DIY project of a powerful yet budget-friendly option that can help when your air quality is poor.

#3 - Donate to organizations & charities.

Feel like you aren’t doing enough on your own to reduce pollution and improve air quality? Consider donating to organizations or charities dedicated to making a difference in air quality for the planet.

Here are some US-based organizations to consider supporting during indoor air care month:

#4 - Invest in an air quality monitor.

There are all kinds of sources of indoor air pollution. So, constant indoor air quality testing is essential for regulating the air in homes and buildings. That way, you can measure the levels of dangerous air pollutants and see as they change.

With the PurpleAir Map, for instance, you can also monitor your air quality in real time.

By detecting and taking timely action against these health hazards, you can make decisions to safely maintain a healthy indoor atmosphere. Indoor Air Care Month is a great time to start thinking about the air quality in your home and take small steps to improve it.

Get Involved Yourself

At PurpleAir, there are tons of community projects going on around the world. We’re thrilled to see these collaborative efforts, and we look forward to seeing plenty more in the future. Are you working on a community project with PurpleAir’s air quality monitors?

We would love to hear about it. Share a post in the Community Project forum, then we can highlight your work. Together, we can make air quality accessible for everyone.