How to Circulate Air in an Apartment

Living in an apartment brings with it plenty of challenges, such as broken elevators or noisy neighbors.

One major thing that troubles me often is that it can feel stuffy sometimes. Unlike duplexes and independent houses, apartments are closed with less ventilation.

You need to know the various ways to circulate air in your apartment so that you avoid allergies, asthma, or other health challenges. 

Open the Windows to Improve Your Apartment’s Air Circulation

Apartments are small areas that typically suffer from poor indoor air quality. Open the windows as often as possible. 

Poor ventilation can lead to an accumulation of dust, pet dander, dust mites, and allergens. 

Air circulation suffers in an apartment because you don’t typically have as many windows as you would in a house. It’s also hard to get natural air flowing due to fewer air vents. 

Open the windows you do have to keep air flowing freely throughout your living space. This process keeps air healthy to breathe as it prevents dust and mold buildup. 

A strategically placed fan or a ceiling fan will help keep the air moving as it enters from the windows.  

Fan movement also helps prevent humidity from trapping dust particles that accumulate allergens in your breathing space.

Also read: How to Clean Apartment Windows

Battle Humidity to Maintain Healthy Air

Use a dehumidifier to go along with your fans when you need to keep humidity levels from rising too high inside your apartment. 

Fans and open windows also help drier air move throughout the apartment when you’re showering or cooking. 

On the other hand, a humidifier helps during low humidity conditions. 

Dangers of Humidity on Indoor Conditions

Low humidity causes an apartment atmosphere where you might develop:

  • Skin irritation
  • Colds
  • Respiratory illnesses

Dust mites like to live in high humidity conditions. Higher humidity also results in condensation, which is when mold and mildew start to grow. 

A poorly ventilated apartment makes it harder to breathe during high humidity conditions. 

It’s harder to keep safe humidity levels in an apartment when the laundry room and bathrooms sit so close to your living areas. 

That’s why you need to pay close attention to these levels. Keep them at a healthy range of 30% to 50%. 

Use an Air Purifier

An air purifier can increase apartment air circulation. These devices suck air in and remove particles, contaminants, and pollutants by running the air through one or multiple air filters. 

Clean air comes out the other end of the purifier to provide better air for you to safely breathe. 

The challenge with buying an air purifier is that many different types and models exist. Do quality research to sift through the marketing claims until you find a solid choice.

The type that works best for your apartment will depend on the square footage. You can usually find a quality air purifier starting at about $200 to $300. 

Don’t forget that you’ll need to budget for the ongoing cost of periodically replacing the air filter. 

Use Indoor Plants

Plants work well to improve the aesthetic look of your living space. Some plants also provide a secondary benefit by cleansing the air quality inside the close quarters of an apartment. 

Consider introducing some indoor plants to your apartment. The following types of plants work well for this situation:

  • Snake Plant
  • Chrysanthemum
  • English Ivy
  • Aloe Vera
  • Barberton Daisy
  • Broad Lady Palm
  • Weeping Fig

Keep in mind that plants by themselves won’t filter the air as well as an air purifier, for example. 

Some people make wild claims about how plants can dramatically improve indoor air quality. This isn’t true because you would need dozens of plants to purify air sufficiently. 

However, studies like this one reveal that plants prevent harmful bacteria from growing by increasing microbial diversity and abundance. 

The bottom line is that you should consider using plants along with other air circulation methods to improve your apartment’s indoor air quality. 

Use an Air Conditioner

Install an air conditioner is one of your apartment’s windows to achieve more air circulation. This is especially effective if you live with higher humidity conditions. 

An air conditioner doesn’t just cool the air. It also provides additional air ventilation and movement as its produced air circulates throughout the room. 

Dampness lessens when using an air conditioner. That’s why you should think about this option if you struggle to eliminate humidity in your apartment. 

Replace Air Filters Regularly

Do you live in an apartment with a central air conditioner and heating system? 

It’s critical to replace the air filters at regular intervals with these systems to keep air circulating correctly. Air filters exist to trap bacteria, allergens, dust, and other contaminants. 

If they aren’t changed periodically, then these trapped particles inhibit the airflow. This results in stagnant air that makes your apartment uncomfortable to live in. 

Find out how often your particular system requires the air filters to get changed out. Some HVAC systems need to have the filters changed every 30 to 90 days. 

Pay attention to when the landlord or maintenance team changes the filter by marking it down on your calendar. 

Put in a change order if you notice that no one comes back regularly to change out the filters. Of course, if you’re responsible for changing the filters, then make sure you stay on top of it.

Buy a Portable Evaporative Cooler

If you don’t have an air conditioner in your apartment or don’t want to go the route of installing one in a window, then you should consider a portable evaporative cooler. 

These devices work similarly to portable fans. The difference is that a portable evaporative cooler can circulate the air and make it much cooler at the same time. 

They work by introducing a cold air blast into your apartment’s living space after converting water or ice that you place inside its tank. 

Get Rid of Some Furniture

Did you know that too much furniture in a small space contributes to a decrease in air circulation? The extra fabric from too much furniture doesn’t allow for the free flow of air. 

Consider getting rid of some of your furniture if you’re having trouble removing the dampness or stuffiness inside your living quarters. 

Using less fabric and more hard surfaces throughout your apartment will allow the actions of open windows, fans, air filters, or air conditioners to work more effectively. 

Don’t Smoke in Your Apartment

Smoking in an apartment will derail your efforts for increasing air circulation. 

Cigarette or pipe smoke gets embedded into clothing and furniture, which leads to smelly, stuffy air. This effect lingers even after you’ve put the cigarette out. 

If you or a family member must smoke in the apartment, then do so near a window. Increase air circulation while smoking by running a fan, air purifier, or portable evaporative cooler. 

Some manufacturers make box fans that blow air outward instead of sucking air in. You can try pointing one of them toward a window while smoking so more of the smoke blows outside. 

Of course, eliminating indoor smoking when increasing apartment air circulation should be your highest priority. 

Why is Apartment Ventilation So Important?

Now that you know how to circulate air in your apartment, take a moment to understand why it’s so vital to do so. 

Eliminate Asthma or Allergies

You can achieve a healthier indoor living environment when using the correct amount of ventilation for your living space. Chronic sneezing, allergies, and asthma will lessen over time.

Reduce Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds

Better circulation reduces any impact from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As invisible gases, VOCs lead to many types of health challenges. 

Volatile organic compounds come from paint products, air fresheners, hairspray, and various cosmetics. 

You can suffer from eye, nose, and throat irritation with VOCs in your environment. They can cause: 

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Skin issues

High concentrations or long-term exposure can also result in lung irritation and damage to your central nervous system, kidneys, and liver.

Reduce your use of products that cause VOCs. At the very least, don’t ever use them in an apartment without adequate ventilation. 

Alleviate Hay Fever Symptoms

If you or a family member suffers from hay fever, then use improved apartment air circulation to lessen the symptoms. 

Using the above tips for circulating air results in eliminating the pollen that causes hay fever or other pollen allergies. 

How to Find a Well-Ventilated Apartment

If you’re looking for an apartment, then here’s what to look for:

  • Plenty of windows that open easily
  • Fans or windows in the laundry rooms and bathrooms
  • Wood flooring that can’t trap allergens as carpeting does
  • New pipes or faucets (to lessen the chances of leaks and any resulting mold)


As you’ve learned, it’s critical to achieve optimal air circulation in an apartment. 

Use the above tips and ideas to make sure your living environment is free from allergens, pollen, and other contaminants. 

The fresh air provided by a well-ventilated apartment leads to a more enjoyable living space. It also gives you the peace of mind that you can avoid long-term health risks. 

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