5 Steps to Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Fall is inching ever closer, and that probably has you drafting up a fall “to do” list which includes things like raking the leaves and cleaning out the gutters. But did you remember to add “improve indoor air quality” to the list?
People spend an estimated 87% of their time indoors, and that makes protecting your indoor air quality (IAQ) essential. This fall, make sure your indoor air is clean and healthy with these five simple steps.
1. Replace Your Air Filters
The air filters in your heating and cooling systems are your first line of defense against dust, dirt, germs, and other airborne contaminants. Are you cleaning or replacing them often enough?
How often you need to change or clean your air filters depends on a number of factors, including the type of air filter you’re using, what HVAC equipment you have, how many people (and pets!) live in your home, and how much air pollution is in your area. In general, it’s best to check your filter at least once every 30 days.
2. Clean Your Ductwork
Picture dirt, dust, and other debris lingering along the walls of your ductwork. Now, imagine turning on your heating or cooling system and having conditioned air blow through that ductwork. Suddenly your indoor air doesn’t feel very clean, does it?
Unfortunately, many homes have dirty air ducts, leading to poor IAQ. Professional duct cleaning (and sealing, if needed) will eliminate contaminants in your ductwork and minimize your exposure to harmful viruses and bacteria.
3. Install a Dehumidifier
Nashville is notoriously humid — especially during the summer. Those days when the humidity hits 70% makes it almost unbearable to be outside. The humidity isn’t exclusive to the outdoors, either; chances are it’s getting into your home as well.
The EPA recommends indoor humidity levels between 30 and 60% to reduce the risk of mold growth. If humidity levels are consistently outside this range, occupants can experience symptoms like skin irritation, coughing, and sneezing. To keep humidity levels down and prevent mold growth, be sure to install a whole home dehumidifier.
4. Seal Air Leaks
Did you know that even if all of your windows are closed, outside pollutants and allergens are seeping into your home? This is because there are likely air leaks along the exterior of your home which let air travel freely between inside and out.
Air sealing — and upgrading your insulation, while you’re at it — will eliminate air leaks around your windows, in the attic, and in other key areas, keeping outside contaminants out. Plus, you’ll see bonus benefits like greater home efficiency and lower utility bills.
5. Upgrade Your Ventilation
A properly sealed home is key for keeping outside pollutants out, but it’s also important to make sure there is a controlled exchange of inside air with fresh outside air. A whole home ventilation system removes stale indoor air and replaces it with fresh and filtered outdoor air — without the outdoor temperatures.