A whopping 137 million people in the U.S. breathe air filled with pollutants. That’s almost half of the country’s entire population! Moreover, that number represents an increase of 9 million from previous years.
Unfortunately, many of those people live in Tampa, Florida. Worse, the city had a spike in unhealthy days for short-term particle pollution from 2018 to 2020. And while there were fewer high-ozone days then, there were still far too many.
Even more concerning is that polluted outdoor air can mix with and lower your home air quality. It can also worsen things if you already have poor indoor air quality.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to keep your indoor air clean. We’ve listed the top ones below, so read on.
Hunt Down and Patch Air Leaks
Sealing air leaks is one of the most straightforward ways to save on air conditioning bills. After all, such cracks and holes let conditioned air from inside your home exit outdoors. In addition, they allow unconditioned air from outside to enter your home.
As a result, the temperature inside your home can keep getting warmer in the summer. That then causes your AC to work harder.
Worse, infiltrating outdoor air also brings pollutants into your home. Thus, patching up air leaks in your home can also help improve indoor air quality.
Cracks, openings, and joints around windows and doors are typical sources of air leaks. Likewise, they may also develop in walls, ceilings, and floors. Look for these and seal them with caulking or weatherstripping.
Change Your AC Filters Regularly
As your air conditioner sucks in warm air, it pushes the air through the filter first. That removes air pollutants that may compromise your AC’s cooling and energy efficiency. The trapped contaminants then remain in the filter.
Because of their purpose, air filters get clogged over time, ranging from one to three months. If they don’t get replaced at that point, they can no longer do their job of filtering the air. That can lead to your AC emitting foul smells or not blowing enough cold air.
Moreover, the thicker the layer of filth in the air filters, the fewer pollutants they can remove. The air the AC unit draws in can also knock loose some dust, debris, dirt, and dander already on the filter. All that can then mix with the air inside your home, bringing its quality down.
Therefore, replace or wash your AC filters as soon as you see visible dirt on them. Besides, doing so can lower your system’s energy use by 5% to 15%.
Ventilate When It’s Safe
While Tampa sees high particle pollution and ozone days, it’s not every day. You can use these “safe” days to open your windows and allow outdoor air to ventilate your home.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has tools letting you check air quality. Visit and check its site for up-to-date pollution data before opening the windows.
So long as done correctly, natural ventilation can dilute pollutants from indoor sources. It also removes harmful substances in indoor air by bringing them outside. As a result, it can minimize the number of contaminants in the air and improve your home’s IAQ.
Seal Water Leaks
The average U.S. household squanders away almost 10,000 gallons of water yearly due to plumbing leaks. One in 10 homes even waste at least 90 gallons daily, or close to 33,000 gallons annually.
That’s a lot of wasted resources, not to mention money paying for water you don’t even get to use. And as if that’s not bad enough, water leaks can also give rise to molds.
The problem is that molds can contaminate the air with their spores. Exposure to mold-ridden air, in turn, can be harmful, especially to those with allergies.
In addition, extensive mold contamination can also clog up your AC filters faster. The sooner your home air filters get clogged, the sooner your AC can start performing poorly.
So before that happens, have all your plumbing leaks sealed.
If you already have mold indoors, you can try eradicating them with bleach mixed with water. However, this method is best for instances wherein the mold colony is less than 10 square feet. Also, don’t forget to wear goggles, a face mask, and gloves to avoid inhaling particles.
Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
Let’s say you’ve done all the tips above, but you or others in your household still get allergies indoors. One possibility is that you have filthy air ducts lowering your home air quality.
Aside from allergy symptoms, another sign of dirty air ducts is if the air from your HVAC system smells foul. It can be due to dust, dirt, debris, or mold build-up within the ducts. Worse, it can indicate that you have unwanted critters (AKA pests) living there.
Remember: Pests like rats and mice expel droppings that, once dry, can become airborne. Unfortunately, their feces are more than just disgusting; they also carry pathogens. Experts even say rodents can spread at least 35 diseases, with their urine and poop being vectors.
That said, it may be best to have your air ducts inspected and cleaned by a professional. That’s especially true if you can’t remember the last time you had it cleaned. While you don’t have to do it yearly, you should schedule a cleaning every few years.
Invest in an Air Cleaner or Purifier
If you feel worried about indoor and outdoor air, you might want an air cleaner or purifier. Air cleaners filter the air and are helpful for larger particles like dead skin and pet dander. On the other hand, air purifiers sanitize the air and remove stuff like molds and smoke.
You can get both, and fortunately, the best home air purifiers and cleaners work with HVAC systems.
Start Boosting Your Home Air Quality
Remember: Poor home air quality can lead to diseases, especially in the lungs and heart. That’s enough reason never to underestimate your home’s IAQ. So, as early as now, follow all our tips to keep the air inside your home clean, fresh, healthy, and safe.
Do you need help improving the air you breathe in your Tampa, FL home? If so, our team here at Comfort All-Stars is happy to help! Call us now to learn more about our indoor air quality services!