Enhancing Indoor Air Quality in Your NYC Apartment

The recent return of Canadian wildfire smoke to New York City highlights the importance of maintaining healthy air quality inside your apartment. With more wildfire smoke expected this summer, it’s crucial to take measures to protect yourself and your family from harmful pollutants. Here are five practical ways to enhance the air quality inside your NYC apartment:

1. Secure Your Space:

Keeping poor air out of your home starts with securing your apartment. Keep doors and windows closed, and use weatherstripping to block any air from entering through the bottom of your entries. Inspect older buildings thoroughly for cracks and leaks that could allow air to sneak in, and seal these spaces with towels or cloths.

2. Optimize Air Circulation with Your AC:

Window and portable air conditioners circulate and cool indoor air without pulling air in from the outdoors. This makes them safe to use even during periods of poor air quality. Ensure the spaces where your AC unit meets your window are tightly sealed. If you have central air, your HVAC system likely includes an air filter that helps keep dust, debris, and smoke out of your home. Regularly check and replace the filter to maintain its effectiveness.

3. Invest in an Air Purifier or DIY:

Air purifiers can be a valuable investment to keep the air clean and free from allergens, smoke, and dust. Look for a portable air cleaner with a clean air delivery rate (CADR) that matches the room size. Higher CADRs can filter more particles and larger spaces. HEPA filters are highly effective and should be replaced regularly. Consider brands like Molekule, which offer portable and space-saving designs. Alternatively, you can create your own air-cleaning system with a box fan, four MERV-13 filters, and a cardboard base. This DIY approach can be effective and budget-friendly.

4. Minimize Indoor Pollutants:

Cooking with a gas stove or oven can increase nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, negatively affecting respiratory health. Reduce cooking with gas, especially during periods of poor air quality. Always turn on the exhaust fan or use an additional fan to disperse pollutants when cooking with gas.

5. Monitor Your Health and AQI:

Be mindful of the Air Quality Index (AQI) and its impact on your health. AQI levels above 50 are considered poor for sensitive groups. Most people may notice minor effects when the AQI surpasses 150 to 200, like a scratchy nose or runny throat. An AQI of 201 to 300 poses increased health risks, including coughing. Above 301, everyone is likely to experience smoke-related health issues. Monitor any symptoms you experience, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, cough, phlegm, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms persist, contact your doctor. In emergencies, call 911.

Following these five ways to enhance indoor air quality inside your NYC apartment, you can safeguard your health and create a safer living environment for you and your loved ones. With proactive measures, you can minimize the impact of wildfire smoke and other pollutants, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable living space. Need more guidance? Get in touch!

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