I Suspect My Apartment Lacks Ventilation. Do You Have Ideas For Improving Air Quality?

Reader Contribution by Robyn Griggs Lawrence

I’ve been sick a lot this past year with colds and coughs. It’s unusual for me to be sick so often, and I’m beginning to suspect that the lack of ventilation in my apartment may be the culprit. There’s no AC and I have radiator heat, so there are no vents. I keep the windows open when it’s hot and even sometimes when it’s cold — because it’s soooo warm in here all the time that I never even have to turn the radiators on!

Do you have any suggestions for improving my air quality? The apartment is old with a million layers of paint (and yes, there is lead paint under there). I have all wood floors and no carpet or rugs of any kind except one small bathroom rug.

I have heard that mechanical air exchangers can help bring in fresh air, but I’m not sure what one is or if I should get one.

I remember this so well from my Hell’s Kitchen apartment back when I lived in New York City! Because of the steam heat radiator, it had two temperatures: hot or freezing.

A mechanical air exchanger would be a major project that your landlord would have to install for the whole building … my guess is that’s not going to happen!

Probably the cheapest, most manageable solution would be an air purifier. Here’s what Natural Home had to say about them a couple years ago: A Guide to Air Filters.

Hope that helps some!

Robyn Griggs Lawrence, editor in chief, Natural Home magazine; author, The Wabi-Sabi House,www.wabisabihouse.com