With the coldest time of year on our doorstep, many people will be retreating to the cozy shelter of their homes to stay warm and comfortable during the winter. However, one thing that many people fail to consider is the importance of indoor air quality, particularly when they’re spending so much time inside the house.
On average, the air inside your home will contain significantly more pollutants, allergens, and other irritants than the air outside. This amount is only exacerbated during the cold season because your house is more likely to be sealed up tight, which prevents your oxygen from blending with fresh, clean air and which causes it to become stagnant. However, there are several simple, straightforward steps you can take to improve the quality of your indoor air, even if you’re staying bundled up inside for most of the winter.
1. Have Your Ducts Cleaned
Your home’s air ducts are important parts of your comfort and air quality because they create the pathway that your HVAC appliances rely on to circulate warm and/or cool air throughout the household. However, your ducts accumulate dust and dirt particles over time, and if they aren’t cleaned regularly, those contaminants will end up in the air that you’re regularly breathing.
Alternatively, if these ducts have any air leaks or damage, these issues can allow unconditioned air to make its way into your house, which will blend in with the oxygen and worsen the overall quality. To make sure your home’s ductwork remains clean and healthy, schedule regular duct inspections with your local HVAC professionals. They’ll be able to not only clean the ducts out, but they’ll also locate and repair any damage.
2. Clean More Regularly
Even if you keep your home very neat and tidy, it’s inevitable that a layer of dust and/or dirt is going to gradually accumulate on the surfaces of your house. Once this dust is present, it’s difficult to avoid significant amounts of it finding its way into that air that you and the other members of your household are breathing. This can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, as well as respiratory problems.
Fortunately, you can combat this by staying consistent with cleaning the surfaces of your home, such as floors, counters, and tabletops. Wipe these surfaces down with a damp rag, and as an added measure, take household items like cushions, pillows, and rugs outside, and bat them together. This should shake out all of those dust and dirt particles.
3. Open Your Windows Occasionally
With the weather getting colder by the day, you’re probably going to be tempted to keep your doors and windows sealed up tight for the next few months. While you can certainly do that, for the sake of your indoor air quality, it would be wise to find periods of time each day when you can open up a few windows and/or doors. This way, the air inside your house, which likely includes a significant amount of irritants, will have a chance to intermingle with the fresher outdoor air. Even opening just two or three windows for only an hour a day can make the air you’re breathing quite a bit cleaner.
4. Keep Your Furnace Maintained
During the winter, you’ll likely be relying on your furnace much more consistently than the rest of the year. Unfortunately, if your heating system isn’t properly cared for and maintained, all of that extra use can put quite a bit of strain on the appliance, which can have a negative effect on the quality of your indoor air. A struggling furnace has a harder time circulating warm air through the ducts and vents of your house. When the air does not circulate properly, it becomes more likely to kick up particles of dust, dirt, pet dander, or other contaminants.
However, when you bring in a technician for a furnace tune-up, they’ll make adjustments that allow your heating system to operate more smoothly and efficiently. As a result, the system should be able to consistently circulate warm, clean air all winter long. In general, most homeowners should schedule a furnace maintenance visit at least once a year.
5. Use a Humidifier
While removing contaminants is probably the most important aspect of improving air quality, it isn’t the only facet of it. When the air in your home becomes excessively dry, that can be problematic as well. This is quite common during the winter months; when that air is lacking moisture, it can result in some of the same irritations and respiratory problems that contaminated air can cause. It can also dry out your skin, make your home feel colder, and even damage your wooden floors and furniture.
Investing in a humidifier can remedy this. You can choose between an in-line version, which would be installed onto your heating system, or you can go with a completely separate unit that would be placed somewhere else in your home. Regardless of which kind you choose, a humidifier will significantly raise the moisture level of your home’s air, which will improve your overall health and comfort during the cold season.
6. Purchase an Air Purifier
Even if you’ve taken some of the other measures on this list to remove irritants and pollutants from your indoor air, it’s likely that some of these things will still be present. This is where having one or more air purifiers set up can make a difference. These units typically don’t take up much space or use much energy, and they’re designed to automatically catch any of those unhealthy particles floating around in your air.
If you go with one that has a HEPA filter, it will successfully filter out between 70% and 95% of the irritant particles in the air, depending on the size of the purifier. Because of their relatively low cost, you can choose to have one of these running all day and night in each room of your house. Some types of purifiers even come with smart sensors, which can measure the level of pollution and automatically adjust the fan speed as necessary.
Since 2010, our team at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions has been striving to provide old-school service with modern technology to the residents of the greater Roseville, CA, area. In addition to our indoor air quality services, we also offer high-quality work in the areas of heating, cooling, and plumbing.
Our team members are trained to provide top-level service, and we put empathy at the forefront of every customer relationship. We want to help keep you comfortable all year long in every aspect of your household, and you can always count on our skilled, certified team to provide personal solutions completed to the highest standard of quality. Your peace of mind is also important to us, which is why we offer flexible financing options on our work as well.
Make sure you only entrust your household needs to professionals who truly care about your comfort. Give us a call at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions today, and schedule your first appointment with our team now.