For many people, the fall season in Arizona offers the perfect climate, with an average of 53 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on your location, temperatures may be warmer, but what’s constant is the air pollutants that often linger around this time of the year. Weeds, particularly ragweed, typically release pollen around August and can last up to October. This seasonal increase in pollen count leads to a higher risk of allergies. Fortunately, homeowners can combat fall allergies by boosting their home’s indoor air quality. Here are 11 ways to do just that.
1. Replace Your Air Conditioner Filter
Air conditioners are designed to give your home optimal temperatures year-round. But as your AC unit conditions all that air, it also catches common air particulates, including pollen, pet dander, and dirt. Over time, these pollutants build up inside your AC’s filter and cause it to stop working. This leads to poorer air quality indoors and also wears your AC unit down faster. Check your AC’s filter regularly for signs of wear or dust and dirt accumulation. Experts recommend replacing your AC’s filter every 45 days for maximum efficiency.
2. Clean or Replace Other Filters
The air filters of your air conditioner aren’t the only ones working to maintain comfortable indoor airflow and quality. Other common household appliances and fixtures, including kitchen ducts, wall vents, vacuum cleaners, and clothes dryers, all use filters of their own to catch air pollutants. Regularly cleaning and/or replacing these fixtures helps ensure that your ducts and vents are circulating fresh air at all times.
3. Utilize Cooking Vents
Your kitchen appliances generate a ton of harmful contaminants, and most homeowners aren’t even aware of it. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are two of the most common chemicals emitted from the kitchen. These contaminants eventually mix with the air and can cause health issues after prolonged exposure. Whenever you’re using your gas burners, always switch on your kitchen vents or open the windows to remove as much of these contaminants as possible. The same goes for when you are using cleaning chemicals on your bathroom tiles and tub or when declogging the sink. These products contain strong traces of chemicals that can stick to hard surfaces or circulate throughout the air.
4. Clean Your Floor Coverings
Bathroom rugs, hallway runners, and living room carpets do more than just improve the comfort level and aesthetics in your home; these floor coverings serve as their own air filters, collecting dust and dirt particles in their fibers. Throw them in your laundry washer/dryer at least once a month for a well-deserved cleaning. If you have carpets that are glued to the hardwood flooring, such as in the case of many apartment units, hire a professional carpet cleaner or invest in an industrial carpet cleaner.
5. Regulate Humidity Levels
High humidity levels can contribute to mold and mildew growth, which can then trigger respiratory conditions like asthma. The southernmost parts of Arizona can be especially humid during the summer. You can lower the humidity level indoors by investing in a top-of-the-line dehumidifier. Today’s dehumidifiers come with a variety of features, including higher pint capacity, humidistat or hydrostat, electronic controls, auto-restart, automatic shut-off capabilities, and so on.
6. Get Some Plants
Plants not only provide aesthetic value to your home, but they also work wonders on your indoor air quality. Nowadays, potted plant options come in a myriad of sizes. Even if you have limited space, such as a small home or studio apartment, you can find small species of flora, like ferns and lilies, that suit your needs. Other plant species that help clean indoor air include English ivy, dragon tree, and bamboo palm.
7. Stay on Top of Your Pet’s Grooming Routine
Pet dander is another common air pollutant indoors. Certain dogs, such as Siberian huskies, shed their coats at least twice a year, including during the summertime. It can be a tedious task to comb your pet’s fur and vacuum the fallout every day, but it’s a good way to minimize pet dander that gets stuck in the vents and ducts or sticks in the carpets and rugs. You should also consider investing in an air purifier to help minimize pet dander circulating inside your home.
8. Improve Ventilation
A simple way of boosting your indoor air quality without having to invest any money into additional equipment is by controlling the amount of outdoor air coming in. While HVAC systems condition the air to help make it more comfortable for you and your family, they are mechanically incapable of bringing fresh air indoors. You can help control airflow by opening windows and doors and switching on attic fans and ventilators at certain hours of the day.
9. Lose the Excess
Excess items, such as oversized furniture or unused appliances, not only take up space but also make it more difficult for air to flow through your home. Bulky items can also block airflow coming in and out of your heating or cooling system. If your home is crammed with personal belongings, it can feel suffocating to walk around or spend time in any particular room. Put up a yard sale and adopt a minimalistic lifestyle.
10. Get Help From Experts
Improving indoor air quality doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to thoroughly test the current air quality, inspect the ductwork and vents, and find the right-sized air cleaners for the space you have. An experienced HVAC technician from Champion Air can perform air quality testing, comprehensive ductwork cleaning, and ultraviolet light sanitation, among other tasks.
11. Invest in an Air Quality Monitor
An air quality monitor, as the name implies, measures air pollutants indoors. Do a comparison shopping of the different air quality monitors available on the market before you commit to any single brand. Ease of installation, accuracy, control features, and price point are key factors you’ll want to read up on. Keep in mind, however, that no matter how good an air quality monitor is, it doesn’t actually do anything to fix poor IAQ. At the end of the day, you’ll need to install equipment or get serviced by a technician to make any noticeable changes to your indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality is a commonly overlooked aspect of homeownership. But considering the fact that people spend a majority of their time indoors, it makes practical sense to want to improve the air you breathe at home. Left unchecked, poor indoor air quality can lead to higher utility costs, more frequent air conditioner repairs, and, more importantly, compromised health of you and your family.
Champion Air is a leading HVAC service provider in the state of Arizona. We have been providing Scottsdale and Phoenix households with heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services for almost 40 years now. These parts of Arizona can get especially hot during the summertime and pollutant-ridden during the fall season. Let Champion Air help you improve your home’s indoor air quality. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a home inspection!