Take these steps to reduce the impact of ‘ozone season’

Ozone season is upon us, and it is time to take some precautions to help air quality. The period of March through November is when ground-level ozone, a common air pollutant, reaches its highest concentration.

There are four things you can do when ozone pollution is at unhealthy levels:

Limit vehicle idling – You should not only turn off the car instead of idling, but make sure your engine is tuned to reduce emissions when the vehicle is idling.

Refuel later in the day – Heat and sunlight can react with fuel to form ground-level ozone. Refueling after the sun goes down reduces these reactions and helps decrease the formation of ground-level ozone. Whenever you refuel, stop when the pump shuts off, avoid spilling fuel and fully tighten your gas cap.

Limit daytime driving – For the same reasons it is best to fill up at night, it is best to drive at night. Driving when temperatures are lower, and the sun has set, helps reduce ground level ozone.

Drive less – The fewer cars on the road, the less emissions. The less emissions, the less ground-level ozone. Carpooling, using public transportation, biking, walking or telecommuting are all effective ways to reduce emissions. If you must drive, make sure your tires are fully inflated to maximize fuel economy.

You can also do other things outside of transportation to help with ozone levels. For those who are using lawn and garden equipment, avoid gas-powered tools.

Use low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint and cleaning products. If you do have them around the house or work, seal and store them so they can’t evaporate.

Choose high efficiency appliances whenever possible.