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  • It’s Beautiful Outside: Windows Open or Closed?

    Don’t just cool things down—improve indoor air quality with a smarter ventilation strategy.

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    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, levels of indoor air pollutants (building materials, mold, chemicals in household cleaners, etc.) can be two to five times greater than outdoor levels of pollutants (vehicle exhaust, pollen, smog)*.

    That’s a fairly concerning figure, considering most of us spend up to 90 percent of our day indoors. But don’t go flinging open all the windows at home or in your office the moment things get toasty out there. Finding the right ventilation strategy is a little more complex than that.

    Use these helpful tips to make smart choices about when to let the breezes blow and when to crank up the central air for relief from the heat.

    • Keep windows closed and cool your home with air-conditioning if:

    • 1. You have seasonal allergies.

      Many people with sensitive sinuses fare better in a dry, air-conditioned environment that shuts out pollen and dust.

    • 2. The outside air is humid.

      Humidity can amp up the negative effects of both indoor irritants and outdoor particles that find their way inside. Humidity also creates the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, a significant allergy trigger for many people.

    • 3. Local smog or wildfire smoke levels are high.

      Even with closed windows and doors, you’ll want to rely on a heavy-duty air filtration system to trap the harmful particles that can slip through the cracks.

    • Open windows for natural ventilation if:

    • 1. Your home has mold or other fungus problems.

      Compromised central air handling systems can be free-for-alls for mold, mildew and other biological contaminants. Open windows if you notice musty, smelly or stuffy indoor air. To boost your efforts, find an in-home air filtration unit designed to target and trap the specific pollutants in your building or area.

    • 2. Things are getting steamy.

      Especially in smaller spaces or those with poor ventilation, a little indoor moisture (from showers or stovetop cooking) goes a long way in creating the kind of humidity dust mites love.

    • 3. You’ve made recent home improvements.

      Construction materials and paint are notorious for “off-gassing” the chemicals in their adhesives and active compounds. The effects of this process can be dangerous, especially right after installation. Confirm each product’s safety instructions, and wait as long as possible (days or even weeks) before closing up the house.