10 Tips for Clean Indoor Air this Winter
As you and your family pack into the house for the winter months, you may notice a decline in air quality. Chances are, you’ll see an uptick in stuffy noses, sore throats, and itchy eyes. Family members with asthma may also notice that they’re more prone to asthma attacks during winter. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep the air in your home fresh, clean, and breathable.
Here at Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ve been in the home heating and air business for more than 9 years. In that time, we’ve worked with countless homeowners throughout Sacramento to help them improve the comfort and safety of their homes. Our technicians are highly trained and know what factors can cause a decline in your home’s air quality, as well as clever solutions for how to restore it.
Here are 10 tips that our technicians recommend doing during the winter months:
1. Replace Air Filters
The air filter is an essential component of your home’s heating system. The disposable mesh filter is designed to capture harmful particles and remove them from your home’s air supply. Dust, dirt, pet dander, and mold spores are just a few of the many contaminants the air filter can hold. After a couple of months of use, the filter will get clogged, meaning it’s no longer effective at its job. That’s why it’s important to replace it with a fresh filter every three months. Eco-friendly homeowners can invest in reusable air filters which can be washed with warm water instead of thrown away when they’re dirty.
2. Vacuum Floors and Carpets
It probably comes as no surprise that dirt, dust, and mites will accumulate in your rugs and carpets. What may come as a surprise is that those particles can migrate back into the air and eventually make their way into your lungs. To remove these particles, you’ll need to vacuum regularly. The best kind of vacuum cleaner for indoor air quality is one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
3. Dust Often
Dust doesn’t just accumulate on your carpets. It also finds its way into furniture, upholstery, curtains, and bedding. Cleaning these surfaces at least once a month will seriously cut down on the amount of dust it harbors. Bedding should be washed regularly, and rugs and curtains can be taken outside and shaken out. Furniture is a little tougher to clean since it doesn’t fit in a washing machine. Instead, you can use a vacuum attachment for large particles and a damp rag for smaller particles. If you or a family member has serious allergens, you can consider furniture covers, which can regularly be removed and washed to restore their cleanliness.
4. Open the Windows
On the occasional winter days that aren’t too chilly, take advantage of the warmer air by opening your windows. Getting fresh air is an excellent—and natural—way to remove stagnant air and circulate clean air throughout your home. Open windows also facilitate the removal of pollutants, germs, cooking fumes, and cleaning chemicals. Pairing an open window with a ceiling fan can help circulate the air with greater speed and efficiency.
5. Use an Air Purifier
For a heavier-duty air quality solution, you can consider installing an air filtration system. This is separate from the standard HVAC air filter and can remove much smaller particles. Some air filtration solutions utilize features like infrared lights to destroy bacteria and viruses. If you’re interested in air filtration, one of our knowledgeable technicians would be happy to discuss your options and help you choose the best one for your home.
6. Invest in Indoor Plants
Plants are a natural alternative to full-house air filters. Certain plant species are especially well-known for air filtration, including ferns, lilies, and palms. Placing a few plants in each room of your house will help filter out pollutants.
7. Monitor Humidity Level
Winter weather goes together with dry indoor air, which is why many homeowners break out the humidifier during the cold season. While adding some moisture back into the air can make your skin feel less dry and cracked, it’s important not to go overboard. Excessive moisture creates the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria to flourish. To avoid this scenario, keep your home humidity levels between 30-50%.
8. Avoid Chemical Air Fresheners
A plug-in air freshener or essential oil diffuser may smell pleasant, but they can also release chemicals into the air that are irritating or harmful. Instead of using chemically based air fresheners, we recommend using natural alternatives which are safer to breathe. Flowering houseplants and natural candles add a pleasant, natural odor to your home. Using natural cleaning chemicals like lemon and vinegar also helps eliminate odors in a safe and healthy manner.
9. Use Vent While Cooking
Cooking, especially with oil, can release a ton of particulates into the air. Certain vegetables, like onions, can also release airborne irritants. Running the microwave fan or fume hood can help disperse these particles and remove them from the air. This limits your exposure to these irritants and improves the air quality in your kitchen and your home. It also cuts down on the amount of oil that sticks to the cabinet surfaces and walls near your cooktop.
10. Establish a Smoke-Free Zone
It’s no surprise that cigarette smoke is one of the most toxic, harmful substances you can encounter day-to-day. Tobacco smoke has been linked to lung disease, cancer, respiratory distress, and asthma. However, that doesn’t mean that some of your family members, guests, or visitors won’t refrain from smoking. However, to improve your indoor air quality, you can limit smoke exposure in your home by creating a smoke-free zone indoors. Instead of allowing people to smoke inside your home, you can have guests take part in smoking activities outside at a safe distance from the home.
Stay Healthy With Clean Indoor Air
Winter weather can be detrimental to the air in your home since it means less fresh air and more people packed into a small space. That’s why it’s more common to experience colds, allergies, and asthma during winter. However, by implementing the tips we suggested in this article, you can purify your home’s indoor air and protect your family members from airborne hazards.
For all your professional heating and air services, you can count on Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air. Our technicians provide everything from maintenance to repairs and replacements for your furnace and air conditioner. We also offer a range of premium air quality solutions, including air filtration purifiers, UV lights, and whole-house fans. If you’re looking for the perfect solution for improving your home’s air, we would be happy to assist you in choosing the right options.
Call us today for more information or to schedule your air quality consultation with Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air!