In recent months, we’ve all been spending more time indoors. While that’s the safest thing to do, it also means our exposure to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is increasing. Many health experts, including those at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, believe our air quality indoors is actually far worse than that outside in many cities and communities.
Poor indoor air quality can trigger allergies, make breathing difficult, and even impact your mood and happiness. In this article, we’ll walk you through several ways you can improve your home’s IAQ and start breathing easier.
As our homes have become more and more airtight in an effort to make them more energy-efficient, we’ve also cut off the flow of fresh air into the home. Without proper ventilation, all your dust, pollen, viruses, and more are effectively trapped in your home’s air. The easiest solution, of course, is to open up your windows and let in some fresh air. However, that may not be an option in January when temperatures outside remain below-freezing!
The next best thing is ventilation. By adding effective kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, you can better control the circulation of stale, indoor air out of your home. Adding ventilation to an airtight home is one of the best things you can do for your indoor air quality.
Do seasonal HVAC maintenance
Your home’s air conditioner and furnace play a major role in your indoor comfort. You probably already knew that. But, they also have a big impact on your indoor air quality. Your air conditioner helps balance your home’s humidity in the summer, while your furnace’s filter captures a lot of particulate matter, removing it from your home’s air.
Make sure you keep your heater and air conditioner running properly. By having your AC unit looked at in the spring and your furnace inspected in the fall, you’ll not only be less likely to need repairs in the season ahead, but you’ll also see the benefits in your home’s air.
Install an air purifier
If you’re really ready to clear the air in your home, you’ll need to get acquainted with the world of air purifiers, air filters, and similar equipment.
There are two types of systems generally called “air purifiers.” The first are air filters. These use a fan to draw in air, which then is pushed through a physical filter. These are good for removing particulate matter like dust and pollen, but you’ll need the other type of filter—a UV filter—to kill off viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and more. We typically recommend homeowners install both types of filters to cover all their bases and ensure that their home’s air remains safe and healthy.
If your aging cooling or heating system is on its last legs, you might want to talk with your HVAC technician about your options for replacing it. An older air conditioner is going to struggle to keep your home’s comfort and humidity balanced.