We are spending a lot more time inside our homes to stay healthy through the COVID-19 emergency, but just how healthy is the air in your home? We have put together the following tips to help you immediately improve the indoor air quality of your home and keep your family safe.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is defined by the EPA as the quality of air inside your home, especially as it relates to your health and comfort. The EPA recommends improving IAQ in three basic steps.
- Removing pollutants and toxins (source control)
- Diluting the pollutants with fresh air and improved ventilation
- Cleaning and filtering the air
How Can I Improve the Indoor Air Quality in My Home?
You can improve the indoor air quality of your home to keep your family safe during the COVID-19 emergency by following these simple steps:
Avoid Harsh and Toxic Cleaners
Disinfecting your home is important but avoid synthetic fragrances that emit chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Instead, get the lemony scent from fresh-sliced lemons, not the petroleum-based artificial fragrances.
Change Your Furnace Fan Setting to On to Increase Air Circulation
Your furnace will be running less as the outside temperatures become milder (especially if you had us air seal and insulate your building envelope to hold in the heat). Change the fan setting on your thermostat from “Auto” to “On” to increase the air circulation in your home. If your home is equipped with a fresh air intake, changing this setting will also increase the amount of fresh air you bring into your home.
Change Your Furnace Filter
With more people home and increasing the fan circulation setting you will need to change the filter more frequently. Changing your furnace filter will prevent the build-up of dust, dirt, bacteria and more from your home’s airflow. Support small businesses while practicing social distancing and visit the local hardware store to get a new furnace filter.
Open A Window & Leave Bath Fans on Longer
If your home is not equipped with mechanical ventilation to control the efficiency and quality of fresh air entering your home, you could simply open a window to bring in fresh air and leave your bathroom exhaust fans on to exhaust the stale air. This is a far less energy-efficient solution than utilizing mechanical ventilation.
Test for Radon with a DIY Kit
Take advantage of your time at home to complete a simple do it yourself radon test. You can pick up a test kit when you get your furnace filter at the local hardware. Follow the instructions on the kit and mail it off for results.
Add House Plants
While there are mixed results about how much plants improve IAQ, there are plenty of results supporting that indoor plants improve happiness, and who doesn’t need more of that? Potting plants can be a fun activity for the whole family!
Where Can I Find More Details on IAQ and Home Performance?
The home performance industry does more than improve the comfort and efficiency of your home, we have a major focus on health and safety. We invite you to nerd-out with some of our building science colleagues and experts in chemistry, public health, and IAQ on this free series of recorded live-streamed events called The Domino Effect of Quarantine and Responses to COVID-19: What We Know, What You Can Do.
We hope these tips and resources help you to breath better quality air while you keep your family safe at home. Stay well!