Seasonal transitions are a great time to take practical steps to clean and refresh your home. One thing that definitely needs to be evaluated as the seasons change is your indoor air quality.
It’s time to say goodbye winter air—while still ensuring the humid months ahead don’t mean mold or mildew for your home. Before you crank up the AC and call it a day, here are some tips to refresh your home before those steamy summer months set in.
A harsh winter and debris buildup can be tough on outdoor heating and cooling systems and can affect your cooling system’s start-up in the summer. Perform a quick visual inspection and clean off any debris that have accumulated outside. Schedule a professional air conditioner cleaning if it seems like there might be hidden dirt and debris.
Next, be sure to change your air filter so that when you turn on the AC, it pumps fresher, cleaner air into your home. You should also give your air conditioner a quick test run before you actually need it on that first 90-degree day.
On a sweltering summer day, you want to keep cool air in, not let it escape and run up your utility bill. To perform a quick air leak inspection, start by looking for places where the caulking is coming off on the exterior of your home. From the inside of your home, check the thresholds under doors. If you can see sunlight streaming in, that’s your cue that the door isn’t completely sealed.
Another place to look if you have single-pane windows is the window glazing—it’s the hard putty material that’s meant to keep a tight seal, and if it’s damaged, that could be a source of air leaks, too. If any of these visual tests prove inconclusive, you can also hire an energy auditor to perform a quick inspection of your home.
In the winter months, most people turn up the humidity so their indoor air isn’t too dry. As summer approaches, be sure to turn the humidity level down on your thermostat so your home doesn’t become overly moist and prone to fungi or mold growth. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent*.
As you transition to summer, consider running a dehumidifier, even if it’s just in the basement, which is usually one of the areas most susceptible to mold growth.