The movement of air in a small apartment is definitely more limited than in a bigger space. This is especially true if the apartment is poorly ventilated in the first place. Poor ventilation combined with limited space for air to move can result in mold growth, stagnant humidity, and overall poor indoor air quality, which can affect your quality of life and your health in general.
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If you live in a small apartment, here are the best ways to keep your space well-ventilated and improve your indoor air quality:
1. Have your dryer vent cleaned
Over time, your dryer vent collects dust, chemicals, and other allergens or pollutants. When these materials are not cleaned out regularly, they can negatively impact your indoor air quality, especially when your apartment is not well-ventilated. Moreover, the accumulation of lint and other debris can make your dryer a fire hazard.
That said, hire a dryer vent cleaning service at least once a year or more depending on how heavily you use your dryer.
2. Open the windows, but sparingly
Opening the windows is the easiest way to let some air into your apartment and prevent stuffiness. However, if the air outside is heavily polluted (as in the case of apartments in big cities), this might not be a good tip to improve the air quality of your home. If you live in an area with heavy air pollution but want to get some air into your house, it’s better to open the windows during the night or early morning when there is less traffic outside.
3. Improve airflow with a fan
When you open the windows but the air is still outside, you won’t get much fresh air into your home. To fix that, place a fan near the room’s doorway, making it face outside of the room. The fan then pulls air from the windows, through the room, and out the door, allowing you to improve ventilation easily.
Follow the same trick while cooking but this time, make the fan face the windows to pull heated air from the room and push it outside. This trick is especially useful if you don’t have a stove hood in your apartment or if it’s not working well enough to suck up steam from all the things you’re cooking.
4. Replace air filters
Air filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly to prevent the accumulated allergens or contaminants from spreading in the air and causing respiratory problems (sneezing, coughing, runny nose, asthma, etc.). The management will usually be responsible for replacing air filters, so reach out to them when you see that your air filters are getting too dirty. Otherwise, replace the filters yourself and take note of the date to incorporate the task into your routine. In general, air filters need to be replaced every 90 days if you don’t have any pets; 60 days if you have one cat or dog.
5. Ban smoking
Smoking is never good for anything. Don’t smoke in your apartment that is already prone to stuffiness in the first place; don’t allow others to smoke inside it, too. Even if you are blowing smoke out of your window, the smoke can still flow back inside and increase pollutants in your apartment, aside from making the unpleasant smell linger.
If you or a guest smoke inside, get rid of the smoke as soon as possible by aiming a fan outside of the window.
6. Buy an air purifier
An air purifier helps remove stagnant odors and air contaminants by ‘purifying’ the air. This helps relieve respiratory symptoms caused by polluted indoor air, neutralizes unpleasant odors, and removes harmful chemicals from cleaning agents or gases from vehicle traffic that may enter your home.
Moreover, most air purifiers have a compact design. So even if your apartment is tiny, this device can fit easily into your home without taking up too much space.
7. Avoid excessive humidity
A room that is poorly ventilated is more likely to be ‘damp’ or excessively humid, as in the case of small bathrooms. To cure the dampness, find the root cause of the problem, which could be a poorly sealed window or a faulty exhaust fan. To improve the airflow in the room even further, invest in a dehumidifier, which should reduce the humidity in the room and dry it out.
Living in a stuffy apartment is not fun. It’s hard to breathe, it gets too hot when you cook, and it seems like every other allergen is present in the air. With these tips, however, you can improve the ventilation in your apartment and enjoy fresher air, regardless of the amount of space you have.