There are many things that are easy to take for granted about your home — and indoor air quality can be close to the top of that list. However, as time goes by, you and your family can start feeling the effects of poor air quality. These may include headaches, eye irritation, and respiratory issues, to name a few. So, what can you do to ensure the best indoor air quality possible? Fortunately, there are several easy ways.
9 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
1. Change the Air Filter Regularly
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air inside your home, removing moisture from it, cooling it, and circulating it back into your home through the return air vents. When this process occurs, most contaminants in the air get trapped in your AC’s filter. These include dust, pet hair and dander, dust mites and their droppings, cigarette smoke, and soot from candles. If not changed regularly, the air filter gets caked with a thick layer of pollutants. This blocks the airflow, makes your AC work harder, increases energy costs, reduces the lifespan of your air conditioner, and affects the air quality inside your home. Therefore, change it every 30 to 90 days — depending on how many people live in your household and whether you have any pets or allergy sufferers who live with you.
2. Install an Air Purifier or Humidistat
Air purifiers provide many benefits to your home. In addition to improving air quality, they also eliminate unpleasant odors, reduce the number of allergens in the air, absorb dust and dust mites, and lower the likelihood of mold growth — and the costly repairs that come along with it. You can install one within your home’s air ducts as part of your HVAC system or you can purchase a portable purifier.
By the same token, installing a humidistat is especially helpful in muggy climates, such as in Georgia. This is because if the humidity level inside your home goes above 60%, mold spores could start growing inside your home. It also creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
3. Clean the Drain Line Regularly
Remember how we mentioned that air conditioners remove moisture from the warm air inside your home? When this occurs, those water droplets fall into an AC part called the drip pan. Once full, the water is flushed out of your home through the drain line. Since it’s a small, enclosed, wet space, it creates a prime location for mildew to grow. To clean it, shut off power to your AC, remove the cap from the drain line, and slowly pour a cup of distilled white vinegar. Wait 30 minutes, then replace the cap and turn on the AC again. Make sure to do this about once a month.
For more information, check out our article: How to Clean Your AC Drain Line with Vinegar
4. Reduce VOCs
VOCs are volatile organic compounds. These are harmful chemicals typically found in traditional cleaning products, as well as in furniture. The reason they affect your home’s indoor air quality is because they release gases into the air. They don’t have any smell, so they’re hard to detect. However, prolonged exposure could cause headaches and respiratory issues. To reduce them in your home, use natural cleaning products, store chemicals in the garage or an outside shed, open your windows regularly, and test your indoor air quality.
5. Decorate With Indoor Plants
Houseplants not only make indoor spaces look nicer, some of them can also improve indoor air quality. This is because they can remove harmful air pollutants such as toxins and VOCs. However, not all plants do this. To get such effect, make sure to decorate your home with English ivy, Chinese evergreens, Bamboo palms, Gerber daisies, chrysanthemums, and/or aloe vera.
6. Clean Your Home Regularly
While dust is an obvious air pollutant, having too much of it around your home also comes with dust mites and dust mite droppings — all of which cause allergies and respiratory issues. This pollution is exacerbated if your home is carpeted. Therefore, vacuum regularly, and if you ever decide to remodel your home, consider replacing carpeted floors for tiles or laminate. If you notice your home seems to have a significant amount of dust despite you cleaning it regularly, check if the AC’s air filter needs to be changed.
7. Clean the Air Ducts
Clean air ducts reduce the likelihood of mold formation and the accumulation of allergens. They also prevent insects and rodents from nesting inside your home. To keep them in optimal condition, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends that you clean the ducts every three to five years. Signs that your home’s air ducts are due for cleaning include an accumulation of dust in the return vent grills, the air filter gets dirty faster than usual, there’s inconsistent airflow throughout your home, or you can see mold growing on the furnace. To clean the entire system, you’ll need assistance from a licensed HVAC technician.
8. Open the Windows
Letting air circulate around your home is a good way to reduce the number of toxins from VOCs, indoor particulate matter, and cookstove smoke. It also allows for fresh air to come into your home and give your AC a break — since you should turn it off prior to keeping the windows open for a while.
9. Schedule Regular AC Maintenance
Scheduling regular AC maintenance provides many benefits to your home — such as ensuring your air conditioner lasts as long as possible, better energy efficiency, and lower energy costs. In addition, it fosters better indoor air quality, since an HVAC technician is able to spot potential issues before they occur — such as an accumulation of dust or mold growth anywhere within the system.
Need Help with AC Repairs or Replacements in Atlanta, GA? Air Select Can Help
Whether you need AC advice, routine maintenance, or a full replacement, our trusted team of HVAC experts are here to help. Since 2008, Air Select has been providing dependable, high-quality AC services for families and businesses in Atlanta, GA. Contact us using this form to schedule a service or talk to an expert.