6. Improve ventilation
Increasing air flow from the outdoors will help lower concentrations of indoor air pollutants, the EPA says. Some ways to improve ventilation and remove contaminants from an indoor space include:
- Opening windows and doors
- Using window or ceiling fans
- Installing kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans that pull air outdoors
- Using a window air conditioner equipped with an open vent control
You may also want to consider installing a whole-house ventilation system to improve indoor air quality. Here’s a breakdown of the four different types available.
Simple and inexpensive, exhaust ventilation systems work by depressurizing your home. These systems—usually whole-house, bathroom, or kitchen fans—are best for northern, low-moisture climates. Avoid this type of ventilation system in the Southeast and other places where moisture/humidity levels are high, as the home can be damaged by mold and condensation buildup that develops when warm air is repeatedly drawn into the structure.
Another simple and inexpensive form of home ventilation, supply ventilation pressurizes your home with fan and duct systems that bring fresh air inside while other air is able to leak out through holes in the shell, vents, and fan ducts. The incoming air can be filtered or dehumidified, helping to lower moisture levels and minimize pollen, dust, and other pollutants entering the home.
More expensive than supply or exhaust ventilation systems to install and operate, balanced ventilation systems work by balancing equal amounts of incoming fresh air from the outdoors with extracted polluted air from the indoors. The more advanced balanced ventilation systems incorporate heat or energy recovery and can provide significant energy savings when properly installed.
Most cost effective in climates with high heating and cooling costs driven by extreme summer or winter weather, heating and energy recovery ventilation systems (both are types of balanced ventilation systems) provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss. Installation and maintenance of these type of systems can be expensive and time consuming, but they have the lowest operating costs among any home ventilation option.