Cool, Clean Summertime Air: Enjoy Fresh Air Indoors

In many areas of the country, June signals the start of warmer weather. And with that comes the shutting of windows and turning on of air conditioners. Before you seal up your home to combat hot temperatures, you should know that doing so often increases indoor air pollutants. The less air circulation, the more air pollutants build up indoors, such as compounds emitted by furniture, household products like cleaners, and particulate matter from cooking. On cooler days, open the windows and let in some fresh air. When you simply must turn on the air conditioning system, know that doing so can be helpful: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems trap some outdoor pollutants and help filter out indoor pollutants. However, the substances that air conditioners remove from the air – things like pollen, dust, and pet dander – can find their way back in, when they build up inside the unit and then recirculate. The solution: clean filters. In addition, get the vacuum out regularly – preferably one of with a HEPA filter. And do some damp- dusting, too. And, of course, don’t spend all your time indoors! Surprisingly, the air outside is almost always less polluted than indoor air – yes, even in the largest and most industrialized cities. Just be sure to check the EPA’s Air Quality Index before you head out.