Here’s an interesting fact.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.  Purer indoor air will create a healthier environment in your home, allowing you to breathe better, sleep better, and protect you from conditions such as asthma and sleep apnea.  So here are a dozen things you can do to improve indoor air quality during the summer.  Of course, many of these also apply in the winter. 

  1. Open your windows. After all, outside air is cleaner than inside air.  So, bring some of that cleaner air inside.  Of course, the tradeoff is bringing in hot air from the outside will make your house warmer and increase energy costs.  So, find a balance, perhaps opening the windows at night or early in the morning when the outside air is cooler.  But monitor the pollen count to make sure the outdoor air is indeed clean.
  2. You want humidity in the 30% to 50% range.  Investing in a whole house dehumidifier can control the humidity and reduce the pests, dust and other allergens that thrive in humidity, and can trigger allergies and asthma. 
  3. No smoking. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals.  None are good for you.
  4. Groom your pets. Pets shed more in the summer months, and pet dander can negatively impact indoor air quality.
  5. Change the filter in your furnace. Once a month for 1-inch filters and every six months for thicker filters is recommended.
  6. Have your AC serviced to make sure it is running efficiently (same goes for your furnace in the winter).
  7. Clean your ducts to remove the pollutants that gather there and then are forced into your living space air by your air conditioner.
  8. Install UV lighting in your ductwork to kill mold and bacteria that thrive in cool, dark environments.
  9. Take off your shoes and have your guests take off their shoes to limit the contaminants entering your home.
  10. Regularly vacuum carpeting, rugs, and upholstery. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to get rid of pollen and dust mites.  These vacuums can also reduce the amount of lead in your home.
  11. Use natural scented products. Aerosol sprays such as hair sprays, deodorants, carpet cleaners and air fresheners launch harmful chemicals into the air.  Fabric softeners, laundry, detergents, and even dryer sheets also contain harmful chemicals that get in the air.  Instead, buy naturally scented or fragrance-free products.   
  12. Some indoor plants naturally remove toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air.  Plant one of the following non-toxic plants every 10 square feet:
    1. Bamboo palm
    2. Barberton daisy
    3. Boston fern
    4. Broadleaf lady palm
    5. Spider plant