When the temperature in Niles, OH, soars, many locals spend most of their waking hours indoors. Although your air conditioner regulates humidity and filters out large-sized particulates, many allergens and contaminants slip through its filter mesh. With your doors and windows sealed tight, being inside could leave you sniffling, sneezing, and suffering from other indoor air quality-related symptoms. Fortunately, there are seven easy ways to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ) this summer.
1. Install Mechanical Ventilation and Keep It Clean
Your bathroom exhaust fans and range hood vent fan do the important job of funneling out smoke from cooking projects, toxins from self-care and cleaning products, and steam. Be sure to keep these features clean.
You can remove all bathroom exhaust fan covers and vacuum behind them. The filter for your range hood vent should be removed and cleaned at least once each month. Another great way to limit the amount of lint, dust, and other particulates floating throughout your home is by having your dryer exhaust vent professionally cleaned.
The “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation. Unfortunately, it’s the most overlooked element in indoor climate control. If your indoor air feels or smells stagnant this summer and is constantly rife with toxins, you can work with a licensed HVAC contractor to have additional options in mechanical ventilation installed.
2. Regularly Change Your HVAC Air Filters
HVAC air filters are largely designed to keep the interior of air conditioners and heaters clean. However, they also serve as consumers’ first defense against common IAQ concerns. Changing your HVAC air filter monthly will ensure that this component is never coated in thick, mat-like build-ups of debris that negatively affect your air conditioner’s performance, drive your energy bills up, or release clumps of allergens and contaminants into your indoor air. Although some homeowners can get by with performing HVAC air filter changes every 60 to 90 days, you should diligently inspect your HVAC air filters every four weeks.
3. Periodically Open Your Windows and Doors
On days when the weather is mild, consider turning your air conditioner off for a few hours and opening your windows and doors. This will allow fresh outdoor air to flow in while allowing trapped contaminants to move outside. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be significantly more polluted than outdoor air. In fact, the concentrations of certain contaminants can be up to five times higher inside your home than outside. Opening your windows and doors for just an hour a day will leave you with far fresher and healthier indoor air than you had before.
4. Inspect Your HVAC Air Ducts and Clean Them When Needed
If your HVAC air ducts are riddled with mold, dust, pet hair, and other allergens, the air that passes through these features will also be riddled with these things. You should have your air ducts inspected annually. You should also have them professionally cleaned at least every three to five years. Between duct cleaning appointments, regularly wipe down all air registers, vents, and grilles throughout the building.
If your HVAC air ducts are 15 years old or older, it’s probably time to replace them. Not only do aging air ducts increasingly lose efficiency, but they’re also likely to harbor pathogens and contaminants that negatively impact resident health.
5. Have Your Air Conditioner Professionally Serviced
One of the best ways to improve your IAQ this summer is by having your AC professionally serviced. In addition to inspecting and testing your cooling equipment, our technicians will thoroughly clean all of its internal and external components.
6. Be Mindful of the Toxins You’re Releasing Indoors
Limit your use of store-bought spray cleaners, room freshening sprays, scented candles, and chemical-addled self-care products. If you struggle with ants, flies, or other indoor pests, consider disbursing homemade bug sprays containing little more than water, essential oils, or other natural additions. Keep in mind that all of the toxins you intentionally release in your home will linger in the air for quite some time. Basic HVAC air filters cannot remove chemicals, gases, germs, or other micro-fine contaminants.
7. Consider Having Integrated IAQ Accessories Installed
Air purifiers, air scrubbers, media filters, and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters outperform standard HVAC air filters when it comes to cleaning indoor air. Many of these integrated IAQ accessories are capable of picking up:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Smoke odors
Installed directly on or in HVAC air ducts, additions like these will leave your home smelling fresher. They’ll also greatly improve your IAQ.
We’re committed to helping homeowners in Niles, OH, maintain healthy living environments. In addition to providing first-rate heating, cooling, and plumbing services, we also offer advanced indoor air quality solutions and preventative maintenance plans. To find out about our integrated IAQ accessories or to schedule an appointment, contact A To Z Dependable Services now.