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Desert Living, Clean Breathing: Navigating Indoor Air Quality Challenges and How to Improve Them

Desert living can be a great choice for individuals who love being able to see beautiful landscapes while enjoying dry, warm weather. However, while avoiding harsh winters and never-ending rainy seasons can seem like paradise for many people, there are some challenges that desert living can produce.

One of the primary issues with living in desert areas has to do with the impact of dry air and the resulting impact of low indoor air quality. It’s important for homeowners to know how to properly address these issues to ensure they’re living in more comfortable and healthier conditions.

The Problem with Desert Air

Many people love the feeling of living in a warm climate, but the desert air can also present a number of problems for homeowners.


If you’ve lived in a desert climate for any amount of time, you no doubt have already invested in a great vacuum or dusting kit. Deserts are inherently dusty environments, and it can be very hard to keep a home clean from sand and dust collecting on blinds, air ducts, and floors.

The challenge with this dust is that once it gets disturbed and the microscopic particles that make it up enter the air, they can stay in the air for quite some time and be inhaled as you breathe. Long-term exposure to high levels of dust in your home can actually irritate your lungs and could lead to an increased risk of developing certain respiratory issues.


Even those desert areas may seem like they’re too dry to contribute to allergies, the reality is most deserts still have many common allergens. Dust mites and even pollen produced by desert plants and flowers can quickly circulate through windy regions and enter into homes.


During rainy periods, mold spores that often lie dormant during the year can quickly start to proliferate and lead to strong allergic reactions for individuals who might be sensitive to them.


Desert living is great for individuals who prefer warm, dry air. However, the dryness of the air in these areas can actually lead to various issues with an individual’s skin and immune systems.

When the air lacks moisture, it can often lead to very dry nasal passages and cracked skin. These can lead to a number of skin issues and make it more difficult to sleep. Living in an area that is too dry can also weaken the body’s natural defenses against certain airborne viruses and bacteria.

Dry air can also irritate the lining of the respiratory system and make some individuals more prone to coughing or nasal congestion.

Improving Indoor Air Quality in the Desert

The challenges that living in desert areas brings should leave homeowners running for the hills. There are a number of steps that can be taken to improve the indoor air quality of homes, including:

Air Filtration

Filtering your home’s air through your HVAC system is one of the first lines of defense against low air quality. Since your air conditioning system is likely to be running more often in desert climates, your air filters will play an important role in reducing or eliminating many airborne pollutants.


To ensure your filtering the air the best you can, it’s important to invest in high-quality filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of at least 13. These types of filters are certified to capture even the smallest particles that pass through your HVAC system and will help to eliminate airborne dust, allergens, and other respiratory irritants.

Air Purifiers


To supplement the air filtration of an HVAC system, standalone air purifiers are a great solution for improving the air quality in each room of your home. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air purifiers are capable of removing over 99% of all airborne particles and are portable enough to be discreetly placed anywhere.

For individuals who have increased sensitivity to strong odors, chemicals, or smoke, purifiers with activated carbon filters can achieve the same level of purification as other HEPA solutions.

When looking for the best solution for your home, look for purifiers that are certified by organizations like the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to ensure the unit is as efficient and effective as advertised.

Controlling Humidity

Maintaining a certain level of humidity in your home is actually a good thing. Humidifiers are portable devices that come in a wide range of sizes and can add moisture to the air in the room. Having sufficient moisture in the air helps to improve breathing, improve the quality of your skin, and actually reduce the risk of catching certain virus strains.


The preferred humidity level of a home will vary from person to person, but the suggested level is 30-50%. As with an HVAC system, however, you’ll want to regularly clean and maintain your humidifier to avoid the growth of mold or bacteria.

Proper Ventilation

Ensuring your home gets proper airflow is another important way to improve the quality of the air you’re breathing in. Strategically ventilating the home during favorable outside conditions can help to keep the air indoors from getting too “stale” and allow more fresh air indoors.

Windows and ceiling fans can help to circulate the air you’re breathing as well as using exhaust fans when cooking and when having showers. The exhaust fans in your home actually help to reduce too much moisture or odor build up and are another important way to keep your home air clean.

Effective Tips for Ensuring Optimal Air Quality

Other than using HVAC systems and air purifiers, there are other effective tips you can follow to help ensure optimal air quality levels in your home.

Minimize Dust Collection

Dust naturally collects in all parts of our homes, regardless of where you live. However, the more dust that collects, the more likely it is to be disturbed and enter the air we breathe.

It’s important to have a regular cleaning routine in your home, including vacuuming with HEPA-filtered vacuums and using a damp cloth to remove dust buildup on surfaces. While having a clutter-free home is easy on the eyes, it also reduces the number of surfaces on which dust can collect.

The more regular you are at keeping your home clean, the less likely that you’ll be breathing in dust particles or other airborne bacteria.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

There are so many different cleaning products on the market today. Unfortunately, however, many household cleaners contain a variety of harsh chemicals that can cause a number of respiratory issues.

To keep the air pollution in your home low, you should choose natural cleaning products whenever possible. These solutions contain baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and essential oils instead of harsh chemicals.

Purchasing natural cleaning products, or even making your own, can help you reduce the amount of fumes in your home and keep your indoor air much healthier to breathe.

Purchase More Houseplants

Having houseplants in your home can be a great design choice, but they also provide hidden benefits. Many plants are natural air filters, absorbing many of the harmful pollutants in the air while also releasing oxygen.

Some examples of great plants for air purification include spider plants, peace lilies, and different types of palm plants. They are great for helping with air quality and are also a great decorative piece for your home.

Avoid Using Air Fresheners


Many people associate poor air quality with bad odors. And while it’s true that the common odors we smell in our homes are airborne bacteria, many people overcompensate by using air fresheners to eliminate them altogether. However, many air fresheners contain artificial fragrances as well as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) used to get rid of odors.

While they may make the air smell better, they can also contribute to more airborne chemicals in the home and lead to poor indoor air quality. A better solution is to neutralize odors naturally with homemade solutions, or home air diffusers that use natural oils.

In most cases, the odors come from a central source. Addressing the source of the problem directly, including cleaning the fridge or maintaining the home’s HVAC system, can help to fix the issue without contributing to poor air quality.

Monitor Your Home’s Air Quality

Because we all breathe involuntarily throughout the day, it can be hard to keep track of the air quality in our homes. Most of the time, individuals only consider the quality of air indoors when they notice something is wrong like smelling a strange odor, experiencing breathing issues, or when fighting a cold.

Investing in an indoor air quality monitor can be a great way to take a proactive approach to keeping your home more comfortable and healthy to be in. Air quality monitors can help you track humidity levels or even levels of particular matter and VOCs that you’re unable to detect on your own. This lets you adjust your air purification strategies based on the results you’re seeing.

Keep Your Home’s Air Quality as Clean as Possible


Desert living doesn’t mean you need to compromise on the air quality in your home. But in order to make sure your HVAC system is filtering the air the way it should, it’s important to have it checked and maintained by a reliable contractor. Contact us today at Sierra Air for a consultation and let us help you make sure your home’s air quality is what it should be.

we are currently experience technical issues with our phone systems and will be down for a short time. We are currently working on fixing the issue and hope to be back up momentarily. Please consider using our live chat at the bottom right of the screen to reach us for now. we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

We are currently experience technical issues with our phone systems and will be down for a short time. We are currently working on fixing the issue and hope to be back up momentarily. Please consider using our live chat at the bottom right of the screen to reach us for now. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.