Indoor Air Ventilation Tips in the Era of COVID-19

August 27, 2021


COVID-19 has impacted just about every area of lives since it was discovered.  THE CDC recommends using multiple strategies to help improve indoor ventilation, reduce the spread of the disease, and lower the risk of exposure to the disease.  We will take some of the best tips they recommend to improve the indoor air ventilation in your home.

The Importance of Indoor Air Ventilation

Proper indoor air ventilation is one essential way to keep your indoor air clean, fresh, and healthy.  Over the course of the day, your indoor air builds up varying levels of VOC’s, odors, moisture, pollen, dust, and other airborne contaminants.  Keep in mind that indoor air can contain up to 2-5 times as much concentrated indoor air pollutants as outdoor air.  With the rise of COVID-19, proper indoor air ventilation has become even more important as proper indoor air ventilation can help remove virus carrying particles as well.  According to the CDC, COVID-19 is more easily spread amongst people indoors due to the ability for virus particles to be more concentrated in a condensed area as opposed to a vast open outdoor area where winds can reduce the concentration of virus particles.  While proper ventilation alone will not keep you from coming in contact with COVID, when coupled with other preventative maintenance guidelines (physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing) it can help be a key piece in protecting you and your family.

Increase Indoor Air Ventilation with Outdoor Air

The easiest way to increase indoor air ventilation is by opening doors or screened doors.  By doing this, you are easily allowing the flow of outdoor air into the home and the stagnant indoor air out of the home.  There are some things to keep in mind before you just throw open the doors and windows in your home though.  One of the things to keep in mind is the outdoor air pollution levels.  For asthma or allergy sufferers, allowing outdoor air in during high pollution or pollen days can trigger those symptoms for them.  Also, keep in mind falling risks for small children.  For those that live in cooler areas and use window air conditioning units as opposed to HVAC units, opening the outdoor intake vent, on those that have it, will also allow for introduction out outdoor air into the home.

While the easiest way to increase indoor air ventilation is through opening windows or screened doors, it is something that should be done strategically.  Just opening a window or door does not guarantee that the ventilation process will be efficient.  If the indoor and outdoor temperatures are very close to one another or there is a lack of wind, ventilation can become limited.  This is why it is recommended to open multiple windows or screened doors.  When opening multiple doors and windows in the house, it is best to open them on opposite ends of the house to create a cross breeze through the home depending on the way the wind is blowing.  When doing this, it is also advised to keep interior room doors open as well. 

The Impact of Your HVAC System on Air Ventilation

Your HVAC system can also play a role in keep the air in your home freshly ventilated.  One of the best things your can do for your indoor air quality is to keep the system fan running for longer periods of time.  Your HVAC system is only filtering air when the system is running.  Setting the fan to run even when the system is not heating or cooling will allow your HVAC system to continue filtering the air for longer.

In doing this, you will want to make sure that you are changing your air filter regularly and using the highest MERV rated filter that your system can accommodate.  Your air filter is your best line of defense in trapping dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants before they enter your home.  Some of the highest MERV rated filters also catch the particles that carry viruses.  Most of these filters will have a 90 day lifespan and it is important that you change them accordingly.  In choosing the proper air filter, the CDC recommends a minimum of a MERV 13 rated air filter.  Also, it is important to make sure you are getting the right size air filter.  Improperly fitted filters can allow unfiltered air into the home or potentially cause system damage.  In choosing the proper air filter, the CDC recommends a minimum of a MERV 13 rated air filter.  Lastly, it is advised to research pressure drop in the air filter you are looking to purchase.  Pressure drop can lead to the HVAC system having to work harder to cool or heat the home.  Consult with a professional if you are unsure which air filter you should purchase for your HVAC system.

Consider Adding Air Purifiers In the Home

Air purifiers, also known as air cleaners, are devices that are made up of one or multiple air filters and are designed to remove airborne contaminants in their location in the home.  They are typically used to help asthma and allergy sufferers, in rooms with small children, and in bedrooms to improve sleep.  Since they do help remove airborne contaminants, they can be helpful in improving indoor air ventilation.  The advice if you choose to use one, is to place it in a room that is most often frequented or in the rooms most frequented by COVID-vulnerable people in the household.  This will help reduce the risk of airborne transmission to people in those rooms.  You will need to position the air purifier so that it is not blowing air directly from one person to another.  Keep in mind, this is only solution to be used in conjunction with other best practices and will not stop the spread of COVID in the household on its own.


Hopefully these tips will help you improve your indoor air ventilation.  Keep in mind, these are not only tips that good to help guard against COVID in your home, but also tips that you can use anytime.  The cleaner and healthier the air in your home is, the happier you and your family will be year round.


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