Up in the Air: What Should Your Air Quality Be?

Up in the Air

Long Beach, Bakersfield, and Fairbanks. Do you know what these cities have in common?

According to the American Lung Association, these cities are the most polluted based on ozone levels, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution.

Now, if you’re unsure about the air quality in your state, there’s an easy way to know if you’re living in a polluted area or not. A simple online search for your city + air quality (e.g., Seattle air quality or Portland air quality) can reveal whether you should take steps to protect yourself.

Of course, beyond googling your city’s air quality index (AQI), it’s essential to know what AQI is and how it works. That said, let’s talk about AQI basics and what it means for your health.

What Is AQI?

Air Quality Index or AQI is the US EPA’s yardstick for determining air pollution levels. AQI values run from 0 to 500. So if you search “Sacramento air quality,” for instance, and the results show 350, then you can conclude that it’s not safe to go outdoors at the moment.

Keep in mind that the lower the AQI value, the better the air quality. Anything over 300 means the air quality is poor. For values above 100, at-risk groups or those with respiratory and immune issues should avoid outdoor activities that may cause exertion.

Another way to get a good grasp of the air quality index in your area is to look for the daily AQI color. Green means the air quality is between 0 to 50, and there’s no risk for all groups, while yellow (51 to 100) can be risky for folks who are sensitive to air pollution. The same goes for orange (101 to 150), while red (151 to 200) means that even the general public should take caution.

Purple translates to very unhealthy (201 to 300), and maroon (301 and above) is considered hazardous for everyone.

Don’t Forget About Indoor Air Quality

Knowing what the air quality’s like outside is helpful, but you shouldn’t forget about protecting yourself indoors.

Especially if you or any of your family members have respiratory problems, you need to ensure that your indoor air and heating system works correctly. A faulty HVAC system can increase the number of allergens in your home, including mold spores, pet dander, and house mites. Plus, you’ll spend more on HVAC repairs if you fail to maintain your system.

If you suspect there’s something wrong with your air conditioning unit or heater, it’s best to contact a reliable HVAC contractor like Other things you can do to maintain good indoor air quality include keeping air-purifying plants, opening windows from time to time, and investing in an air purifier.

Breathe Easy

Now that you’ve learned about outdoor and indoor air quality remember to check AQI numbers periodically and follow the tips mentioned click here to keep you and your family safe.

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