Indoor air: How’s the flow?

When you walk into your home, it should smell like … nothing. If you smell something from cooking, cleaning, heating, candles or incense—whether it is nice or not—you may want to make sure that you have good air circulation. Condensation inside windows or on hard surfaces is also a sign that you may need better air flow in your household. A little fresh air can go a long way to cut down on air hazards. Here’s how to get air moving:

  •  Open a window for a few minutes a day. Even in the winter, your house will quickly warm after you’ve let in some fresh, cold air. If it is a bad air day, or if you live in a polluted area, consider using a window filter or air conditioner.
  •  Use the fans in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. These fans are typically located near sources of moisture such as cooking, showering or drying clothes. You can also keep the fans on and the doors to these rooms open to promote air circulation in the household.
  •  If you have a house-wide heating and cooling system, use the highest efficiency air filter that fits the system. Be sure to change it as recommended.
  •  If your home is well insulated, ensure a good system to refresh the air and keep pollutants from building up. Central air heating and cooling systems typically do not bring fresh air into the house. A “whole-house ventilation system” starts at about $1000.
  •  If your fan does not pass the “tissue test”—drawing a piece of tissue towards it—clean or replace the fan. If you cannot find clear, unobstructed vents to the outdoors for these fans, they may need to be re-routed.

The way you maintain your home can make a big difference to your family’s health. Get a healthy homes checkup with our guide and tips.