To prevent a COVID-19 infection, the CDC advises improving ventilation in your home.
Good ventilation means filtering the air inside your house, getting fresh air in, and improving air flow. Doing these, along with other preventive actions, will help reduce virus particles inside your home and will keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading.
Improving ventilation can help you reduce virus particles in your home and keep COVID-19 from spreading. You may or may not know if someone in your home or if a visitor to your home has COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses. Good ventilation can help prevent you and others from getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
Use the Interactive Ventilation Tool in the CDC’s website to learn how to decrease the level of COVID-19 virus particles during and after having visitors in your home.
Ways to Improve Ventilation in Your Home
- When safe to do so, open doors and windows as much as you can to bring in fresh, outdoor air. While it’s advisable to open them as wide as you can, even opening a window slightly can help.
- If possible, open several doors and windows to allow more fresh air to come in.
- If unsafe, do not open windows and doors. For example, you have young children or pets in your home, if there is a risk of falling, or if there are people in your home who have asthma or other respiratory conditions
- If opening windows or doors is not an option, consider other approaches such as using air filtration or turning on the bathroom and stove exhaust fans.
- Use fans to move virus particles in the air outside but do not leave them unattended, especially with young children around.
Filter the air inside your home
If you have a central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) that has a filter in your home, do the following:
- If your home has an HVAC fan operation that can be controlled by a thermostat, set the fan to the “on” position instead of “auto” when you have visitors. This allows the fan to run continuously, even if the heating or air conditioning is not turned on.
- Use pleated filters as they are more efficient than ordinary furnace filters and can be found in hardware stores. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to replace the filter yourself or ask a professional for help.
- Make sure that your filter is installed properly.
- Change your filter every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ideally, your ventilation system should be inspected and adjusted by a professional every year to make sure it is operating efficiently.
Use a portable air cleaner, if you don’t have an HVAC system
If you don’t have an HVAC system, use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner to improve filtration in your home. They are very efficient when it comes to trapping particles that people exhale when breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
Choose a HEPA cleaner that is the right size for the room/s. Look for one that has a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) that meets or exceeds the square footage of the room/s where it will be used. The larger the CADR, the faster it will clean the air. Refer to the EPA’s Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home for more information.
Turn on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen
Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans can help move air outside. Some stove exhaust fans may not send air outside but can still improve air flow and prevent virus particles from getting concentrated in one place.
- Keep exhaust fans turned on over your stovetop and in your bathroom if you have visitors in your home.
- Turn on exhaust fans for an hour after your visitors leave to help remove virus particles that might still be in the air.
Improve air flow by using fans
- Place a fan as close as possible to an open window, with the fan blowing the air outside. This helps get rid of virus particles in your home. However, even without an open window, fans can still improve air flow.
- Point fans away from people as this can blow contaminated air directly at them.
- Use ceiling fans to help improve air flow in the home whether the windows are open or not.
Limit the number of visitors and their time spent in your home.
The more people you have inside your house and the longer they stay, the more virus particles can accumulate. If possible, gather in larger rooms or areas (outdoor areas would even be better) so that people can practice social distancing. Keep visits as short as possible.
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