Time for a Breath of Fresh Air. Literally.

It certainly was a long and challenging winter. Add to that the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 that forced us to spend more time indoors than usual. Research findings published by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded, “…the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”

With warmer weather upon us, now is a good time to let that stagnant air out and the fresh air in. Here are a few easy tips to improve the air quality in your home:

  • Open the windows. Air locked inside your home is literally “used.” It was breathed in and doesn’t contain as much oxygen as fresh air from the outside. And that fresh air may even result in positive health benefits such as improved blood pressure and heart rate, a stronger immune system, raised serotonin levels and perhaps improved digestion.
  • Clean the window screens. Dirt, pollen and other allergens collect on window screens and decrease the amount and quality of air flow. Inspect screens and frames for signs of wear, tears or damage to determine if they need to be repaired or replaced. To clean screens, remove them from the window, mix a small amount of mild dish soap and water in a bowl, scrub outdoors or in a shower with a soft bristle brush, rinse and let dry.
  • Clean exterior window sills and frames. Vacuum or dust to remove any accumulation of dirt and pollen. Wipe clean with soapy water, rinse and dry.
  • Don’t forget the window treatments. Blinds and shutters collect dust that can be removed by dusting, vacuuming, or washing outdoors or in a shower. If you have curtains or drapes, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper cleaning procedure.
  • Change the air conditioner filter. Central heating and cooling systems have either washable or disposable air filters that help eliminate dust and contaminants. The system will operate more efficiently when the grates are wiped down and a disposable filter is replaced or a washable filter is cleaned on a regular basis. Window units are equipped with air filters that can be removed and cleaned. Vacuuming the condenser coils using a soft brush attachment is also recommended. Whether you have a central air conditioning system or window units, check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions
  • Dust ceiling fan blades. Even if a fan is on all the time, the blades collect dust and dirt that is easily removed using a damp cloth or a Swiffer-type disposable duster with an extension handle. To maximize the benefit of the fan, ensure the blades are spinning in the proper direction. During warmer weather months the blades should spin so that the air is pushed down. To change the direction of the blades, slide the button or switch on the fan housing to the proper position. You can also check your owner’s manual for instructions.

Taking the time to complete these simple spring-cleaning chores will result in better air quality and a healthier indoor living space.