Summertime is for sunny days and warm temperatures - but did you know that it is the worst time of the season for healthy indoor air quality?
Ozone, mold, and moisture are more of an issue in the summer than they are during cooler seasons. Sunny days, hot temperatures, and light breezes don't allow for pollutants to be cleared from the outside air. When ozone is in higher concentrations outside, it is going to find its way into your home as well.
When ozone is high, even healthy individuals can begin noticing breathing difficulties. However, those of us who enjoy spending a lot of our summertime outdoors, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals, and those who have existing breathing problems should take certain precautions.
How to keep your Indoor air quality healthy in the summer:
- Keep windows and doors shut during high ozone days, and open them during windy days to bring clean air indoors
- Outdoor humidity and summer storms can carry damp air indoors. Damp air can bring on asthma symptoms and encourages dust, mold and mildew growth, so keep your doors and windows closed on those days.
- Good ventilation is the easiest way to improve indoor air quality. A thorough air duct cleaning right before you kick your air conditioning into high gear isn't a bad idea.
- Weatherizing your home against air leakage is a good idea as well, both to prevent unwanted moisture from coming in and to keep utility bills low.
"State of the Air"
Remember, the summer's outdoor air pollution can cause the air-quality indoors to decline, too. The American Lung Association presented its 14th annual 'State of the Air' - a national air quality "report card." It uses the most recent air pollution data, compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the two most widespread types of pollution - ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM 2.5, also known as soot). Here's what they found:
- More than 131 million people (42 percent of the U.S. population) live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.
- Four cities made all three of the cleanest cities lists the highest number ever to land on all three lists.
- One city has cut one-third of its unhealthy ozone days since first State of the Air report came out in 2000.
- Eighteen cities had lower year-round levels of particle pollution, including 16 cities with their lowest levels recorded.
If you'd like to know more about your city's air quality level, check out the State of the Air report.