leaves in fall and the brisk air in winter. Come spring and summer, though, it’s another matter entirely. Poor indoor air quality during this time of year can feel either humid and stuffy, or terribly stale. A lot of people will crack open a window to try to fix the situation. But there’s a much better (and more efficient!) way to address your stale air problems.
Why Does the Air Feel Stale?
Stale air is created in a number of different ways. Some of the most common causes are from lack of ventilation and various contaminants. The odors and allergens from commercial cleaning products and dust mites are a big no-no for fresh indoor air. But without a good filtration system in place, it’s hard to keep these issues at bay. They just keep adding up to create that lingering stale air vibe.
Another reason your air can feel stale is because of improper humidity levels. Over time, poor circulation can make your indoor air feel even more stuffy. You need to introduce fresh air into your home and workspace to keep them from turning into “stale and stagnant” environments. Fortunately, adjusting your indoor humidity and making sure your ventilation system is efficient and clean can go a long way. A little maintenance or a couple upgrades are usually all it takes to get clean indoor air every day of the year!
4 Ways to Fix Stale Air
There’s no sense to live with uncomfortable indoor air. In fact, those conditions can be a real problem for productivity. Multiple studies have shown that poor ventilation reduces cognitive functions. To feel your best, it’s important to breathe good, clean air. You can help get your indoor air quality up to par with these solutions—listed in order of Okay, Good, Better, and Best:
1. Open a window—but not for too long.
If you’re struggling with stale air, you can always open a few windows. Just remember, this won’t be a real long-term solution. For one, this can add a bunch of sticky humidity to your indoor air. Opening the windows can also let a whole bunch of allergens fly inside. Pollen, dust, and other unwelcome odors (the neighbor’s lawnmower exhaust, for example) can slip into your space without the right filtration. Then you’re stuck with a bunch of other problems! Plus, leaving your windows open while the AC is running can be real energy waste. The money spent on cooling your space then, essentially, just floats outside.
2. Turn on the fan.
Another option is to put a new air filter into your HVAC unit and turn on your ceiling fan. Better yet—put your thermostat on its “Fan Auto” setting! Then you can recirculate the air without introducing new allergens to the mix. The counterclockwise direction on your fan can help push the cool air down to keep the space feeling fresh. This setup can be a great “quick fix” to kick off the new season.
3. Change your air filter.
A better way to improve your air is to put in a new filter. This can allow your AC to work more efficiently. Remember: 4 to 5-inch media filters should be swapped out every 6-12 months, but 1-inch air filters should be changed every one to two months. If you live in an area that has lots of construction going on or fields being plowed, you might need to change your filter more often. Putting in a new filter every month, or even every couple week might be necessary depending on your conditions. If you haven’t checked yours in a while, it’s probably due for a change.
4. Invest in a new filtration system or dehumidifier.
The best way to fix stale air problems is to clean up your indoor air around the clock. Homes and office spaces that are tightly-sealed sometimes need special systems installed. The right HVAC equipment will work to improve your indoor air by cycling it with filtered air from outside. But you might also want a new air cleaner or an add-on unit to tackle humidity issues. If you’re sick of stale air, these are great upgrades to help you breathe easy. Talk with your local HVAC company to find the best energy-efficient system for your layout!
Schedule an Indoor Air Quality Review
For the ultimate spring cleaning, don’t forget about your indoor air quality. The air we breathe affects us every minute of every day, so it deserves special attention. Ventilation problems with older homes and buildings can definitely take a toll. These environments can even cause different health issues, including headaches, eye irritation, and coughing. Typically, these problems are grouped together and referred to as sick building syndrome. The same issues from poor ventilation can also show up in your home.
When changing your air filters and turning on the ceiling fan aren’t enough to fix your stale air problems, it’s time to call on your local indoor air quality professionals. A quick review of your existing ventilation can help determine any problems spots that need improving. An upgraded air cleaner, dehumidifier, or ventilation system might be all you need for a truly refreshing, healthy lifestyle! Contact LCS Heating and Cooling today to learn more.