6 ways to improve indoor air quality
Your home’s indoor air quality depends on several factors, including the levels of chemicals in the air and the presence of biological contaminants from outside. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, poor air quality can lead to allergic reactions, headaches or itchy eyes.
Here are a few ways to improve your air quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
1. Replace air filters
The air filters in your heater and air conditioner remove physical contaminants from indoor air as it passes through the system. However, these filters need to be replaced about every three months at a minimum to maintain maximum effectiveness. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations for the best replacement schedule.
2. Open windows when weather permits
One of the best ways to release contaminants that have built up in indoor air is to open your windows. On days with a light breeze and moderate temperatures, open windows on opposite sides of your home so air passes through your home easily. However, avoid this practice on days when pollen and other allergens are at high concentrations.
3. Monitor humidity
Humidity in the home can decrease air quality because it leads to increased growth of mold, mildew and dust mites. According to the EPA, the ideal humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. You can purchase simple monitors to check the humidity in different rooms. Use the exhaust fan in your bathroom to lower humidity due to shower use and run a dehumidifier during times of humid weather.
4. Choose properly sized units
Air conditioning units can operate as dehumidifiers, but they work best when they operate for more than a few minutes at a time. If your air conditioning unit is too large for your home, it will run on shorter cycles. Therefore, choose an air conditioning unit that is properly sized for maximum dehumidifying potential.
5. Clean regularly
Cleaning your home can remove dust that has settled on surfaces and gets kicked up with motion. Dust surfaces with a damp dusting rag to trap dust rather than scattering it into the air. After dusting, vacuum the floors and upholstery to remove dust that has settled on them.
6. Don’t smoke indoors
Smoking indoors releases over 4,000 chemicals, according to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Avoid polluting your indoor air by keeping all smoking outdoors, as far away as possible from open windows and doors. In addition, avoid bringing clothing inside after it has been exposed to high concentrations of smoke.