Allow us to ask you one brief, simple question: is the air in your home better or worse than the air outside? If you’re like the average American, you probably swiftly and emphatically insist that your indoor air is better than the outdoor air. After all, the outdoor air is full of smog and pollution from cars, machines, and industry. It’s packed with mold spores, bacteria, and viruses that naturally float through the air around us. Certainly, the air inside your home has to be better than that.
If this is your position, then we have some unsettling news for you: you’re probably wrong. In fact, the average home in America has air that is anywhere from five to ten times worse than the air outside. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the biggest one simply comes down to the fact that we as humans are generally messy people, we bring messes into our homes, and the messes don’t leave again until they’re captured, usually by your HVAC air filter. But in the case of viruses or bacteria, the average air filter doesn’t have the capacity to fully stop them.
While many people think that improving their indoor air quality relies on expensive new equipment or major changes to their day to day life, the truth is you can make a noticeable and significant improvement to the air you breathe just by following these simple tips.
1. Vacuum and Dust Frequently
Believe it or not, one of the best ways of keeping your home’s air quality high is to simply keep it clean. Dust is a part of life, but it’s a big contributor to air quality problems, often being composed of things like dead skin cells, dust mite droppings, pet dander, and so much more. It might seem simple, but at the end of the day, a clean home is a home with better-quality and easier-to-breathe air.
If you notice dust starting to accumulate on surfaces, break out the duster or dust cloth and cleaning solutions and wipe the surface free. It also helps to vacuum your carpet frequently—once every two weeks or so, depending on how many people live in your home and where the high-traffic areas are. Your shoes track in a ton of dust and that dust then spreads throughout your home, reducing air quality.
2. Open the Windows For At Least 20 Minutes Each Day
Poor quality air may be air that has gone stagnant and absorbed many of the air quality hazards that exist in your home. The best way to get rid of this air is to simply cycle it out and replace it with air from outside. By opening the windows in your home for at least 20 minutes every day, you’ll give the air an opportunity to freshen up and recycle, allowing odors and stale air to escape while fresher, cleaner air comes in.
Concerned about wasting money due to heating and cooling costs? Adjust when you open your windows each day to make it so the impact is as minimal as possible. For example, the Portland area often enjoys rather mild nights in the middle of summer while summer days may be sweltering and hot. Opening the windows at night can help you enjoy better air quality while also helping you keep your home cooler without having to run your air conditioner constantly in this way.
3. Avoid High-Odor Activities Indoors Unless Well Ventilated
High-odor activities are anything that can bring strong, stagnant, and difficult to remove odors into your home. For most people, the first example that comes to mind is smoking. Cigarettes, cigars, hashish, and other forms of smoking tend to release odorous chemicals into the air, and those chemicals then go on to linger in different ways.
However, odors may also come from things you think are normal, simple, and routine parts of life. For example, cooking certain foods can bring an abundance of odors into your home that are hard to get rid of. Bacon, broccoli, certain types of fish, and plenty of other foods contain strong odors that can take ages to get out of your home. When cooking these foods, run your kitchen ventilation system to make sure as much of the odors can escape as possible.
4. Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned Every Few Years
Finally, one of the biggest sources of air pollution comes from your air ducts. Although it’s not necessarily from the ducts themselves, but what accumulates in them. Dust, mold, dander, bacteria, viruses, and all sorts of other nasty air polluting nastiness builds up in air ducts and needs to be removed through a special duct cleaning service. We recommend having this done every two to three years to ensure your ducts remain clean and don’t contribute to ever-decreasing indoor air quality problems.
Got an indoor air quality issue? Call A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical for help at (503) 694-3396 today!