13 Ways to Enhance Your Indoor Air Quality This Autumn
As summer draws to a close and each day brings you closer to fall, it is an excellent time to consider your home indoor air quality once again. In Metro Detroit and the surrounding areas, people start spending less time outdoors and remain indoors where pollution can be two to five times higher. With that in mind, consider more than dozen strategies that you can use to breathe healthier air in your home.
1. Dust Often Top to Bottom
Your number-one obstacle when it comes to poor indoor air quality is dust. Dust is more than just dirt. It also contains dead skin, bacteria, pet dander, pollen, mites, and so forth. These elements combine to form a compound that traps other pollutants and contaminants and that re-emits them over time. Experts suggest an extensive dusting at least once a week. Start at the top of the room and work your way down. Finish by vacuuming using a vacuum with a HEPA filter that will trap almost all of the dust.
2. Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation When You Can
Early autumn is a great time of year in our service area to fling open the windows and to get some fresh air in your home. Experts recommend using window screens to avoid pests and pollen. You should also pay attention to your local air quality index (AQI). If the AQI will be above 100, then it is best to keep the doors and windows closed that day.
3. Choose Cleaners and Deodorizers With Care
Many homeowners inadvertently introduce much of the pollution in their homes themselves. The most common way is chemical deodorizers that do more bad than good. Even many of the most popular candles on the market are more trouble than they are worth. You should also vet all the household cleaners you use and avoid or at least minimize the use of those that can pollute your air.
4. Be Careful With Indoor Plants
The notion that houseplants are natural air cleaners is a myth. The unfortunate truth is that you cannot fit enough plants into the average home to make a significant difference in indoor air quality. Another unfortunate truth is that houseplants are more often than not a source of pollution coming in the form of mold spores. This happens because people tend to water their plants too much.
5. Check Air Filters and Swap Out If Needed
If you have central air, you will have one or more registers that require a filter that must be replaced on a regular basis. If you have a mini-split or window-based units, these will have local air filters that you generally have to remove and clean. This is also an excellent time to go throughout the home and to check any other air filters that may be in use in other equipment.
6. Improve Ventilation
As winter approaches, autumn is an excellent time to consider your whole-home ventilation, which is essential to exhausting used air and drawing in fresh air. HVAC experts suggest having ventilation systems inspected annually. Once every five years, you should have the home inspected and resealed as needed in order to avoid unintended natural ventilation that undermines your mechanical ventilation.
7. Use Your Range Hood to Exhaust Heat, Moisture, Grease, and More
The average homeowner underestimates just how much indoor air pollution is created when using your oven or stovetop. You should run your range hood exhaust fans at full power before you start preheating. You should also follow the 10-minute rule, which suggests that you leave the fans running for 10 minutes after all cooking is done and all heating elements have been turned off. Be mindful that other kitchen appliances can cause pollution too. Experts recommend running them beneath the range hood as well, and there are flat covers for your stovetop that you can purchase to fit the stove under a hood more easily.
8. Consider an Air Cleaner
Be mindful that the air inside your home can never be less polluted than the air outside it unless you have an air cleaner running. The most affordable option is to have a portable air cleaner that you bring into whichever room you are currently using. However, we strongly encourage homeowners to consider a whole-home air cleaner or air purifier. The difference is that while an air purifier also traps dust and other particles, it can eliminate pathogens as well, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses.
9. Control the Humidity
Dust mites and mold spores are often present in high levels in homes that have an indoor air pollution problem. Both mold spores and dust mites thrive with moisture, which is why it is so important to control humidity levels in the home. This is generally less of a problem in fall and winter since operating a furnace tends to lower humidity. However, low humidity is bad for air quality too. It dries out your eyes, nose, throat, and skin, and we recommend a whole-home humidifier in order to avoid this.
10. Schedule Air Duct Cleaning
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends that you have your air ducts professionally cleaned at least once every five years, and some homes may require it every four or even every three years. Dust and other matter will accumulate in your ducts over time, and if it is not removed on a regular basis, it will undermine your indoor air quality and introduce unwanted odors.
11. Schedule Pest Control
Pests are also a tremendous source of indoor air pollution because they leave behind droppings and a wide range of other matter that you probably do not want to even think about. Many pest control professionals recommend inspection and treatment every quarter. However, you know your home best and can adjust this schedule based on the prevalence of your pest problem.
12. Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Your furnace or other heating equipment can be a great source of indoor air pollution as well. A fall inspection is an excellent time for a heating inspection and tune-up because it precedes the period of heaviest use. This not only ensures that you and your family breathe clean air but also that you do not run into any unexpected furnace troubles come winter.
13. Check Your CO2 Detectors
CO2 detectors are recommended for most homes and are absolutely necessary if you have a gas furnace, stove, fireplace, dryer, or water heater. They are also very important if you have oil heat or a wood stove/wood fireplace or if you use any kind of liquid-fueled space heater. CO2 detectors generally have a test button that will result in several beeps to let you know it is working.
Helping Metro Detroit Breathe Easier
C & C Heating & Air Conditioning has served Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties and the surrounding areas since 1948. Our company specializes in a wide range of indoor air quality services that will help you and your family breathe easier, including duct cleaning, air cleaners and filters, whole-house humidifiers, ventilators, and germicidal lights. Our team also installs, maintains, and repairs air conditioners and other cooling equipment, furnaces and other heating equipment, and both tank and tankless water heaters. Call us today, or contact us online for additional information or to schedule an appointment.