1. 4 Ways Extreme Heat Impacts Indoor Air Quality
  • 4 Ways Extreme Heat Impacts Indoor Air Quality

    July 24, 2019

    Climate change and high temperatures are related—here’s how, and what you can do to care for your home’s air.

    • Extreme heat events aren’t just uncomfortable—they can also pose a major threat to the quality of your indoor air. According to the EPA, these series of unusually hot days are expected to become more common, more severe and longer-lasting as our climate changes.*

      Why is air quality worse in the heat of summer?

      • Pollution. You know that hazy film that develops in extreme heat? That’s called stagnant air, and it’s responsible for increasing air pollutants like ground-level ozone.*
      • Fires. In dry states like California and Colorado, extreme heat may spark wildfires, which can produce airborne particles and gas pollutants such as carbon monoxide.
      • Pollen. Warmer temperatures associated with extreme heat events cause plants and flowers to bloom earlier, prolonging pollen production—and allergy season right along with it.
      • Mold. Extreme heat can exacerbate the growth of this fungus, which thrives on moisture and warm temperatures.

      What can you do to improve indoor air quality during periods of extreme heat?

      • Keep windows and doors closed. When temperatures rise, you may think natural ventilation will provide some relief, but in periods of extreme heat, this may invite unwanted pollution into your home. Before you crack a window or door, check the Filtrete™ Smart App or the EPA’s Air Quality Index, both of which monitor outdoor air quality.
      • Seal leaks and cracks. Regularly inspect your home for any gaps, and seal them with caulk or weatherstriping. Not only will this keep cool air inside (read: lower utility bills), it will also keep pollutants and mold-producing moisture out.
      • Monitor humidity levels. Keep mold growth at bay by maintaining a humidity level of 60 percent or lower (30 to 50 percent is ideal). Using air conditioners, dehumidifiers, bathroom fans and exhaust fans can help.
      • Service your AC unit and air ducts. Air conditioning will help keep you cool in stretches of extreme heat. Have your unit and air ducts cleaned and serviced regularly to ensure clean air is flowing optimally and to prevent mold buildup from blowing into your home.

      Sources:

      * https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/extreme-heat-guidebook.pdf (PDF, 5.17 MB)