According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, people spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. That means the quality of the air inside your home will have a significant impact on how you feel and your overall health. Summer is often looked at as a time when air quality is more challenging to control with the added contaminants from outdoor environmental elements. Consider these nine ways you can easily boost your indoor air quality this summer.
1. Change Your Air Filter
Every central HVAC system has at least one filter that’s part of the system. While the primary job of the filter is to remove airborne contaminants before they enter the system and clog it, it also helps improve air quality. However, the amount of air that passes through it reduces as it gets dirtier, not to mention restricting the air moving through the system and impacting its efficiency.
The best way to remove the maximum number of airborne contaminants is to keep your air filter clean. Plan to check it every month and replace it when it becomes visibly dirty. For the common 1- and 2-inch filter, this is about every 30 to 90 days, depending on the filter type and your air quality. When you do check it, plan to gently vacuum off the dirt that’s on it to help it work effectively longer.
2. Control Humidity
Moisture plays a significant role in your home’s indoor air quality. When it’s too dry, airborne contaminants become lighter and will stay in the air longer. Dry air also causes dry skin while also drying out wood and leather around your home and increasing particles released into the air.
On the other hand, too much moisture creates an environment that’s perfect for various biological contaminants to thrive. You may not even see this, but it could be hidden in your ducts or the recesses of your HVAC system.
The best way to reduce the problems that moisture causes is to control it. The EPA suggests that the ideal indoor humidity is between 30% and 50% relative. Summers around Carrollton have an average humidity between 60% and 70%. Therefore, you may need some additional help to keep the humidity in your home in check, such as a whole-house dehumidifier.
3. Improve Your Home’s Ventilation
Ventilation is critical for controlling your indoor air quality, but uncontrolled ventilation can further erode your air quality. Don’t be afraid to open your windows and doors to allow air to flow in from the outside. Before doing so, keep an eye on the conditions outside to strategically plan when to open them. Avoid opening your home when there’s an air quality alert or high allergen counts.
Make sure that you use the ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. This not only helps control humidity but also helps reduce other contaminants from gas appliances.
The other thing you can do is improve the engineered ventilation that’s part of your home. Consider adding something like an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, to improve the air exchange between your home and the air outside. The added benefit of an ERV is that it minimizes energy loss during ventilation by using a small heat exchanger in the ventilator that transfers heat between the incoming and outgoing air.
4. Reduce Airborne Contaminants
Aside from relying on your air filter, there are some additional steps you can take to reduce the contaminants inside your home. First, stick to a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming and dusting. If you have pets, make sure to groom them regularly to reduce the amount of dander they produce. Leave smoking outside, and only use aerosol sprays when you can properly ventilate your home.
5. Keep Indoor Plants
There are so many benefits to keeping plants in your home to improve indoor air quality that you may not have already known. You may think that plants will add dirt and pollen to the air, and that certainly is a risk depending on the type of plant. However, adding the right plants to your home and maintaining them properly can have measurable impacts. For instance, the Snake Plant has a beautiful green and white striped leaf and is effective at removing benzene and formaldehyde from the air, both of which are common household contaminants.
6. Kick Off Your Shoes
A simple habit like taking your shoes off can make a big difference in your air quality. Your shoes collect all sorts of contaminants as you move throughout your day, and then you bring them into your home when you get home. Try keeping your shoes outside or having a shoe brush you can use before coming in. Also, consider keeping your shoes at the door or in a mudroom so that you can contain how far you spread the contaminants. While these contaminants start on the floor, they quickly become airborne as they dry out and you walk over them.
7. Watch Synthetic Air Fresheners and Cleaners
What you decide to bring into your home can also bring with it a variety of contaminants. For instance, synthetic air fresheners often contain formaldehyde, which paint, glue, linens, and even your clothes contain. Cleaners often contain volatile organic compounds, which cause a variety of problems and irritations for some people.
Consider switching up what you use in your home for more natural products. Essential oils are great for freshening the air, while vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are incredible natural cleaning agents.
8. Get Seasonal HVAC Maintenance
Properly maintaining your HVAC system helps improve your indoor air quality in two important ways, while also reducing your energy bills and the wear on your system. First, a tech will perform a deep cleaning of your system while performing maintenance. Just like cleaning your home, cleaning your system removes the contaminants so that they cannot get picked up and recirculated back into your air.
Cleaning the system also means that it will circulate more air through the system. This also means more air flows through the air filter. The more air that moves through the filter, the more contaminants it will remove from your air.
9. Consider an Air Purification System
There is only so much that your air filter can handle before needing some help. You can add any number of devices to your HVAC system to improve your air quality. There are special filters that will remove smaller particles than your standard air filter. You can use an air scrubber to release ions into the air to make contaminants stick together and fall to the ground. Finally, there are purifiers to help render viruses and bacteria inert, such as ultraviolet air purifiers.
When people around Carrollton want HVAC service they can trust, they’ve turned to Dring Air Conditioning & Heating since 1953. We proudly offer heating and AC installation, maintenance, and repair services. In addition, we also offer indoor air quality solutions, duct installation, and thermostat services. Call to schedule your consultation with one of our indoor air quality experts today.