The quality of air that circulates through both public buildings and your home can have a significant effect on your short- and long-term health. It is important to understand the causes and signs of poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and take preventative measures to preserve a safe and healthy indoor environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air in Buildings Challenge is a great place to start. Here, you can access many resources and learn more about creating a personalized action plan for your home or building. 

If wildfire smoke gets inside your home, there is a way to create a clean room to help protect your loved ones and you can click on the link to improve your indoor air quality.

Resources for Schools

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is an important component of creating a safe and healthy indoor school environment, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) has many valuable resources that can help your school develop a framework for effective school IAQ management and an action kit of indoor air quality tools.

The CDC recommends maximizing the ventilation rate of your school HVAC system to improve the IAQ in schools.

The Washington State Department of Health has a helpful checklist on topics including ventilation, controlling common pollutants, and reducing chemical use. Another resource is a DOH Guidance Chart with recommendations on what school activities are safe to continue during hazardous air quality conditions. A full breakdown of Washington State Department of Health resources is available at The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, including guidance on wildfire smoke, particulate matter pollution, and power outages.

If you have questions or concerns about your school’s indoor air quality, contact Benton-Franklin Health District’s School Environmental Health and Safety Program at (509) 460-4205

Improved Ventilation Techniques

An effective way to improve the indoor air quality in your home is to increase the ventilation rate. Most residential HVAC systems are not designed to bring in fresh air and instead will keep recycling the same air supply that may contain pollutants, pathogens, or other forms of debris.

There are some ways that you can manually increase the amount of fresh air coming into your home from outdoors.

  • As weather permits, open windows and screened doors
  • Operate window air conditioning units
  • Run kitchen and bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors

Slowly, the number of energy-efficient homes that equip mechanical ventilation to maintain indoor air quality are increasing. You can learn more about the different types of whole-house ventilation systems here.