Updated: May 27
Indoor air quality, or the lack thereof, had something of a banner year in 2020. Never has there been such a focus on the importance healthy indoor spaces, going as far as closing public buildings workplaces and small businesses in fear of what's in the air outside your own home.
The concern is valid: the Environmental Protection Agency estimates indoor air contains 2-5 times more pollutants like viruses, dust and allergens than outside air. Stuffy public spaces are one thing, but the same stagnant, unhealthy air gets trapped in your own home, too, settling on surfaces and recirculating. It's scary — and gross — to think about what could be floating in the air inside own home!
Luckily, other than wearing masks and considering life in plastic bubbles, there are some cheap and easy ways to improve indoor air quality:
Keep it clean
According to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publishing, cleaning is the #1 way to improve indoor air quality.
A clean house may be a healthier house, because good indoor hygiene can greatly cut down on dust and animal dander — Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, associate professor of otolaryng-ology (2018)
Pay close attention the areas in your home where dust and other allergens are collected including shelves, window blinds, linens and upholstery, storage areas, and especially your carpet. Make sure to dust and vacuum once or twice a week, and disinfect other surfaces regularly to prevent viruses and allergens from settling in and recirculating in your home.
Bring the great outdoors indoors
There's something about a big breath of fresh air that never disappoints, now we just need to bring that feeling indoors. According to the EPA, one of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality is to increase ventilation. In other words, replacing stale, recirculated air with fresh, clean air is the name of the game. Opening a few windows and running celling fans to circulate more fresh air is about as cheap and easy as it gets. To optimize air flow without using a mechanized system, open windows on the opposite sides of your home to move as much air as naturally possible.
While open windows are an essential source of fresh air, they can't exchange all the stagnant air in your home. Whole house fans and ventilation systems are designed to do just that, and happen to be the most cost-effective and efficient ways to create a healthy indoor environment. The best whole house fans and ventilation systems can complete air exchanges every 3-4 minutes, removing all the stale, hot, polluted air from your home. These systems prevent viruses, allergens, and other indoor air pollutants from recirculating in your home and settling on surfaces, and for a fraction of the cost of other air conditioning systems.
Whole house fans and attic ventilation systems can also make any existing HVAC system more efficient, providing more clean airflow and expelling built-up moisture, heat and pollutants from your indoor spaces while reducing the strain (and cost) of other systems.
Simple things matter
Capping off your indoor air quality improvements couldn't be easier. Taking your shoes off at the door and good floor mats keep any outside contaminants from spreading across your floors, and NASA research has shown house plants like ferns, spider plants and aloe not only look nice, but also act as natural air purifiers. Lastly, remember to always change your home's air filters and avoid synthetic fragrance-based air fresheners to prevent other harmful chemicals from circulating around indoors.
Don't take your indoor air quality for granted and follow these steps to create a healthier, more comfortable home! Contact Colorado's leading whole house fan and ventilation installer today to learn more about improving your home ventilation systems!