Couple in apartment

What Causes Stuffy Air in Apartments?

When you’re trying to make a small space feel clean and comfortable, an air purifier for your apartment can play a big role. The device traps allergens and other airborne contaminants to keep your apartment feeling fresh. But what causes indoor air pollution in the first place? This guide outlines some common causes of poor indoor air quality that can be unique to apartment living—plus a few ways you can make it better.  

What Affects Indoor Air Quality in Apartments?

Dense Living Arrangements

Living so close to other tenants is a key contributor to poor air quality in an apartment. The ventilation systems in multi-unit residential buildings can move dirty air from one apartment to another via ductwork and open vents. Cracking windows to let in fresh air also provides a direct path for outdoor contaminants to filter into your building. This is a particular problem for ground-floor tenants, who are more directly exposed to street-level debris. 

Poor air circulation in multi-story buildings can leave some units stuffier than others, too. Since heat rises, living on an upper floor can get uncomfortable because air can get trapped rather than recirculating to lower levels.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Canopy Humidifier Plus in apartment

Unless you have superpowers, many of the contaminants floating in your apartment aren’t visible to the naked eye. Volatile organic compounds (VOC), for instance, are the chemicals used in detergents, air fresheners, chlorine bleach, and other products used to keep homes tidy. Exposure to VOCs can have a negative impact on liver, kidney, and central nervous system function over time. 

Mold & Pollen 

If you frequently feel under the weather, mold spores and pollen could be to blame for sneezing fits, wheezing, sinus headaches, and other cold-like symptoms. Condensation buildup in ductwork provides the ideal growing conditions for mold. Spores then mix with the air to circulate in living spaces.

Leaky plumbing fixtures can cause humidity levels to rise inside your apartment, which can also promote mold growth.

Pollen can enter your home through gaps in door frames and window sills, as well as on the soles of shoes and embedded in pets’ fur.

Pet Dander

Speaking of four-legged family members, feline friends and canine companions affect air quality, too. The dead skin cells the animals shed, or dander, cling to surfaces and waft into the air when disturbed. Dander contains a protein that can cause allergic reactions in humans, including skin rashes, nasal congestion, and eye irritation. 

Second-Hand Smoke

It’s commonly known that smoking can lead to numerous health problems. Although you might say no to cigarettes, your health can still be impacted by others who haven’t quit. Second-hand smoke can move from another tenant’s apartment to your home via cracks in shared walls, vents, electrical lines, and plumbing pipes.  


Dust is a common contaminant that you can actually see with the naked eye. The fine, powdery particles that stick to furniture, flooring, and counters are a mixture of dead skin cells, dust mites and their waste, pet dander, and other allergy-triggering solid substances. When you open windows on windy days, outdoor dust containing sand particles, pollen, chemical emissions, and dirt can blow into your home, too. 

How Can an Air Purifier Help?

Clean air is the key to comfort and wellness. Air filters in apartments trap harmful substances before they can circulate in living spaces—and the more options you have for air filtration, the better. Our mold-inhibiting humidifier features state-of-the-art sensors that monitor moisture levels to keep relative humidity in check.

Wondering how to clean the air in your apartment? Just use our compact original humidifier on your nightstand or end table, or place the Canopy Humidifier Plus in the largest part of your apartment. When water flows from the reservoir to the tray, it passes through ultraviolet light to remove contaminants. Next, the water seeps into a paper filter, which traps impurities before the water evaporates and is released into the apartment as clean, hydrated air. More moisture in the air can help weigh contaminant particles down, so they’re easier to clean off surfaces.

Our waterless aroma diffuser can also make apartments more comfortable. Place the aroma oil in the diffusion well and let the substance evaporate. A built-in fan delivers the aroma into the apartment to nullify unwanted scents, and the water-free system eliminates a potential source of mold. 

Living in an apartment doesn’t have to mean settling for allergy symptoms and dry, itchy skin when you’re indoors. Keeping your indoor air clean and well-humidified will have your family and visitors feeling more comfortable in no time.