Healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) is a rising concern for everyone as wildfires become more common in the Pacific Northwest and COVID-19 safety concerns remain prominent. Proactively managing IAQ can positively impact resident health, improve the indoor environment, and more. The OR-MEP team compiled a list of best practices to help you prepare your property and increase IAQ at multifamily properties.
- Prioritize cleaning common spaces regularly and using non-toxic cleaning solutions. Regular cleaning will help keep dirt, dust, and debris out of the air and increase the indoor air quality at multifamily properties.
- Install and encourage the use of bathroom exhaust fans. Exhaust fans are a great way to ensure that rooms like the bathroom are removing the humidity in the air after a shower, so mold does not grow in the space.
- Particulates from wildfire smoke can travel inside through small openings, joints, cracks, and around closed windows and doors through infiltration. Therefore, we recommend adding window air sealing and/or weatherstripping to prevent the flow of particulates into the property.
- Replace air filters regularly. A quick and easy way to improve indoor air quality is to regularly change air filters at your properties. It is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use MERV 13 or higher rated filter for wildfire particulates.
- Consider having portable air purifiers onsite at your property or encouraging residents to purchase one. Portable air purifiers are especially important for vulnerable residents including the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses.
- Encourage residents to ventilate their apartments every week or so before and after the smoke from wildfires has cleared. Opening the windows and letting fresh air in is a quick and free way to help circulate air in the indoor space.
- Consider testing for radon, a gas that can cause lung cancer, in the cracks and holes of the foundation at your property. A qualified contractor can help assess and mitigate properties that have high levels of radon.
- Looking for a bigger upgrade? Installing ductless mini-splits can enhance the indoor air quality and is also an efficient option to reduce utility costs each month. Ductless mini-splits will increase ventilation and promote healthy airflow.
For more tips to improve indoor air quality, visit the following resources: