Smart Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

January 10, 2020

The colder temperatures and shorter days of winter can mean that we spend a lot more time indoors. And in an effort to keep our homes warm, windows and doors are kept tightly sealed, preventing drafts from entering the house. This helps keep us warm, but it also means that we don’t get as much fresh air into our home, raising the levels and concentrations of allergens, chemical concentrations, and other pollutants in the air that we breathe.

That’s why it’s important to take common-sense measures to improve our home’s indoor air quality. While there are major upgrades and additions to our home that can make big improvements in our indoor air quality, many other steps require only some simple and inexpensive measures. Let’s examine some of the ways that we can keep the air that we breathe indoors as fresh and pure as possible.

Minimize Mold

Mold is not only potentially destructive to your home, but it can also be dangerous to your health as well. Any program to improve your home’s air quality should focus attention on the measures you can take to prevent mold from occurring.

Control humidity — High humidity levels are one of the primary vectors in mold creation. Humidity levels can vary from room to room within your home, so one of the easiest ways to tackle the problem is through the use of portable dehumidifier units. Another smart option is to install a whole-house dehumidifier in your home. Attached to the central ductwork of your HVAC system, these allow you to control the humidity throughout your home without the hassle of emptying the tanks off multiple portable dehumidifiers.

Eliminate excess moisture — More extreme moisture problems can be hard to control with a dehumidifier. If you have a basement, crawl space, or garage that frequently accumulates standing water, it’s a smart idea to install a sump pump in that area. The pump will handle small accumulations of water on an ongoing basis and keep these areas dry. While you’ll see plenty of DIY instructions for installing a sump pump, it’s important that they be properly installed so that they drain properly and in accordance with local plumbing codes.

Upgrade bathroom ventilation — One area of our homes that’s consistently exposed to moisture is our bathrooms. That nice hot shower may be refreshing, but it also puts a lot of moisture into the air. To keep your bathroom moisture-free, you’ll need a well-functioning bathroom exhaust fan. If the fan doesn’t seem to be keeping the room steam free, consider upgrading to a more powerful unit, or have an electrician check to make sure that it’s operating properly.

Learn more about minimizing mold in your home here:

Keep the (Clean) Air Circulating

It only makes sense that circulating the same old air around your house probably isn’t the best thing for your family’s health. But there are some very concrete steps you can take to make sure that the air you’re breathing is as clean as possible. Here are some practical measures you can take to keep it fresh inside.

Change (or upgrade) those filters! Changing the filters in your HVAC system is one of the simplest and best ways to keep the air in your home fresh, but it’s also one of the most often neglected. Set up a reminder on your calendar to change your filters, and consider buying higher quality filters, particularly if you have a hard time with allergies. You may be surprised at the difference! Don’t trust yourself to remember? Schedule regular HVAC system checkups — your technicians will always check and replace the filters.

Add (or use) cooking vents in your kitchen. You may only fire up the exhaust fan in your kitchen when a recipe goes amok or you burn the toast. But running your cooking vents whenever you’re using the range top or stove will help keep inside air much cleaner.

Add an efficient air-conditioning system to your home. Most homes in warmer climates are already equipped with air conditioning, and it’s hard to imagine going through a hot southern summer without it. But AC does more than just cool the air. An efficient system with adequate filtering will do much to remove allergens from the air. In addition, running your air-conditioning system on a regular basis during the fall and spring will help keep the air in your home drier, reducing the possibility of mold.

Combat Allergens

You don’t have to suffer from seasonal hay fever to be affected by allergens in the air. And in the concentrated confines of your home, small triggers can lead to big problems, including contributing to asthma and other respiratory issues. You’ll notice some overlap between these suggestions and what you’ll see in some of our other suggestions, but when talking about air quality, there are many interconnected aspects to the problem. Here are some smart ways to tackle allergens in your home.

  • Improve the ventilation in your home by keeping filters clean, using exhaust fans, and properly ventilating areas where you store chemicals, like your garage.

  • Keep humidity levels low by using dehumidifiers and eliminating excess moisture buildup.

  • Don’t store volatile chemicals, like fuels or solvents, in your home if possible. Put them in a shed or outbuilding whenever you can

  • Reduce dust and other allergens by regular cleaning of your floors and carpets, and wash fabrics like drapes on a regular basis.

Do a deep dive into how to tackle allergens in your home by checking out this article:

Clean Your Ducts

Think about how much dust and dirt you discover when you sweep your floors. Now think about how much of that gets into your ductwork! Even the cleanest homes will accumulate dust and dirt, and some percentage of that will inevitably work its way into your home’s ductwork. A regularly scheduled duct cleaning can do a lot to ensure that your home’s air is cleaner.

Stay on Top of Your Housework

Regular and thorough housecleaning is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to keep the air in your home clean. Establish a regular routine of floor cleaning, vacuuming, and washing of bedclothes and fabrics like drapes. When vacuuming, chose a machine that captures dirt with effective filters, such as HEPA-filter bags.

We Can Help

There’s a lot you can do to improve indoor air quality by utilizing some of the simple, common-sense measures that we’ve talked about. Survey your home and see where you can apply these measures. If you’re looking at some bigger changes, like improving your HVAC system, adding air-conditioning, adding a whole-house dehumidifier, upgrading your exhaust fans or more, our team is on hand to help guide you through the process. Remember, when you work with Enoch, our quotes are free and you can count on our expertise to see that the job is done right. Get in touch, and let’s see how we can help you.

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