Preserving Indoor Air Quality This Summer
There are several reasons why air pollution tends to be at its worst during summer. The days are longer and the sun is stronger, which means more ultraviolet radiation. The air tends not to move as much as in other seasons. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology in May concluded that air conditioning use can cause pollutant gas emissions to increase substantially.
Air quality is always something to keep an eye on, but it becomes even more important in summer. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to make sure your air stays fresh and cool. Here are a couple of the easiest, most effective ways to preserve your home’s air quality this summer.
Clean the Vents
This is the most important way to preserve air quality. Air cooling systems work by refrigerating the air in your home using evaporated liquid coolants. While the process is highly effective, it also means constantly adding some amount of moisture to the air. Over time, this moist air can promote the growth of allergens like mold. If your vents get dirty, the air
flowing through them will naturally get dirty, too.
Before you really start putting your AC through its paces, consider having your vents professionally cleaned. Clean vents help facilitate clean air, and can lower your cooling bills too! You should have your vents cleaned at least once a year, and early summer is the ideal time to do it.
Let Wind In
This probably seems counter-intuitive. Isn’t the whole point of preserving indoor air quality to keep outside air pollutants out? That’s true, but in order to keep pollutants from building up in your home over time, you need to introduce fresh air into your ventilation system every now and then. Most vent systems re-circulate the same air through a home repeatedly. While this helps make the most of your filters, it also makes the air stale over time.
Opening up your windows on breezy days will let fresh air begin to circulate through your vent systems. Air quality tends to be better on windy days, because pollutants sitting in the air get stirred up and dispersed. Your vent filters will still catch pollutants as the new air cycles, too. The next time it’s windy outside, consider turning off your AC for a few hours and opening up some windows.
Keep Humidity Out
Humidity in your home encourages mold and mildew growth, as well as dust accumulation and pest infestation. Keep an eye on the weather channel, and consider shutting up your home and running the AC on particularly humid days. Damp air from outside can raise your whole home’s humidity considerably if it circulates through your vents.
The most humid parts of most homes are the basements, attics, crawlspaces, and closets. Check these parts of your home for signs of humidity like condensation, mold growth, dust accumulation, and wet air. The best way to quickly protect against humidity is by fixing cracks and gaps in your home’s insulation and investing in a dehumidifier. Run the dehumidifier for at least a few hours every day while taking other steps to keep moisture out, and you should see results quickly.
Tune Up Your Air Conditioner
Having your air conditioner professionally serviced will improve your air quality in several ways. A professional can clean the condenser coil and inner compartment of the system, safely removing dust, allergens, and other air pollutants. They’ll also dust the fans and change the filters, ensuring air moves through your vents effectively and your filters catch pollutants effectively.
Not only will servicing your air conditioner improve air quality, you’ll save money on cooling as well. If you call Blue Ox, we’ll also catch and address any potential problems during our inspection, which could help prevent future expensive repairs and extend the life of your AC unit. Regular tune-ups and inspections become especially important if your home or AC unit is old.
If you follow these four steps, you shouldn’t have to worry about your home’s air quality at all this summer. If you’re looking for more tips for either improving your indoor air quality or just ideas on how to better stay cool this summer, we’ve got you covered.
Finally, if you ever decide you need some help with anything HVAC related, this summer or anytime, all you have to do is give Blue Ox a call. Our experts will make sure your home’s air stay fresh and clean year round. Have a great summer!