In the winter, it’s cozy being snug as a bug in a rug in your home. However, it’ll also wreak havoc on your indoor air quality (IAQ) and can cause health problems. We recommend taking some precautions to avoid the commonly-suffered issues associated with poor indoor air quality.
Why does winter cause air-quality problems?
During the warmer months, your windows are often open to let fresh air into your home. During the colder months, however, you do the opposite. Everything is locked up tight, with caulking and insulation preventing cold air from creeping in.
While this certainly keeps you toasty warm, unfortunately, it also traps your indoor air inside with all the impurities produced by your home. Homes are becoming more and more energy-efficient, and there are fewer ways for outdoor air to infiltrate and help ventilate your home.
What are some common air-quality issues?
All of the confined air can cause a host of issues. Dr. Marilyn Black, an IAQ pioneer, found after years of research that poor indoor air quality was “directly related to the 500-1,000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) coming from everyday materials, such as paint, flooring, furnishings, and printers.”
It has also been proven that smoke, pet dander, cleaning and personal-care products, mold, dust, mildew, asbestos, lead, carbon monoxide (CO), and a host of other factors contribute to your home’s indoor air pollution. Due to poor indoor air quality, your family may regularly experience one or more of these common symptoms:
• Flu-like symptoms
• Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
• Aggravated asthma, allergies, or chronic illnesses
How to improve your winter air quality
Just because it’s winter, don’t assume you have to suffer from poor indoor air quality. There are ways you can improve it. Here are some that we recommend:
Have your ductwork inspected and cleaned. A professional inspection of your HVAC system’s air ducts will alert you to leaks, where unconditioned air may be leaking and causing a problem. Having your ducts cleaned will remove any dust and debris that has built up, preventing it from polluting your indoor air. This is especially important in an older home, where decades of allergens have likely accumulated in your ducts.
Have your furnace annually inspected and cleaned. Ensuring that your furnace and its filter are both clean will help prevent dust and debris from finding their way into your lungs. Your furnace is the primary component of your home’s HVAC system, so having it regularly tuned up will keeps things working properly for a long time to come.
Consider adding an air purifier. Your heating and cooling system’s air filter can only stop so much. Many airborne particles aren’t visible to the human eye yet can still do harm. An air purifier – such as Air Scrubber Plus™ – can eradicate them from your home’s air.
Check your home’s humidity levels. Ideally, your home’s humidity level should remain between 30% and 50% year-round. During the colder months, your home’s air dries out, so be sure your humidifier is providing adequate humidity to your home while not over-humidifying it. Excess moisture breeds mold and mildew – both are toxic to your body.
Open your windows briefly every day (or at least a few times a week). During the winter months, your home’s ventilation doesn’t bring in nearly as much fresh air from outside as other times of the year. Naturally, your home is shut tight to keep the cold out. One easy measure is to open your windows daily for a short time, even for a few minutes. This brings that much-needed fresh air into your home and will help purify the stuffy, stale air trapped inside.
Use natural cleaning and personal care products. Chemicals from everyday products will linger in your home’s winter air without the flow of fresh air. Concentrated, they can do real damage to your body over time. Consider substituting healthier alternatives.
Add houseplants. Indoor plants will clean and purify your home’s air. Adding greenery to your home can only help remove the toxins and stale air present during the colder months.
Clean your home regularly. You should pay special attention to carpets, floors, and dusty areas. A once-a-week tidy-up will go a long way toward keeping dirt and dust from your home’s airflow. Carpet is particularly notorious for harboring pollutants. Vacuum often, using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum – it will dramatically cut down on your indoor air pollution.
Let us help with your air quality needs
Our trained professionals will help you improve your home’s indoor air quality, especially during the frigid Ohio winter months. Call us at 1-844-HEY-NEIGHBOR or schedule service online today to discuss how we can help.