Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality During & After the Winter
With a home closed up all winter long, it causes the same stale air to remain in the home all season long. Opening the window or door will help to circulate new, fresh air throughout the home, but this isn’t the only way a homeowner can improve the air quality. In fact, homeowners may use one or more of the tips mentioned below to improve the air quality in the home to prepare for after winter.
Why Homeowners Should be Concerned About Air Quality
All the air that remains in the home without circulating keeps the dust from escaping. This dust is continuously breathed in by everyone in the household. The same applies for allergens like pollen that get into the home. Keep in mind, not all plants pollinate during the warm months only.
Some plants pollinate throughout the winter. With the weather getting colder and snow falling, people stay indoors much more than during the warm weather. Their pets may not go outside as much either. All of the pet dander builds up inside the house. Spraying cleaners into the air releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are substances that contain carbon. The VOCs are found in air fresheners, window cleaning liquids and dry cleaning solutions and can irritate a person’s sinuses.
During the winter, windows remain closed while steam from cooking and showering enter into the air, leading to excess moisture. The moisture leads to mold and mildew, both of which are inhaled and may cause a reaction in those with sensitivities or allergies to the spores. All of the pollutants in the air are especially dangerous to those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other respiratory problems. Symptoms of exposure to all of the above-mentioned substances include itchy, watery eyes, fatigue, headaches and dizziness. Those with severe allergies may find themselves breaking out in hives as a result of the allergens.
People don’t have to suffer from poor indoor air quality after a long winter. By making a few simple changes that are easy and inexpensive, a person can inhale clean air no matter the season. These changes benefit the health of all members of the family.
1. Minimize Chemical Pollutants
It’s vital for a person to minimize the number of chemical pollutants that enter into the air by avoiding cleaners with potent fragrances. It’s also important to use solvent-based cleaners sparingly, and when a person does use chemicals, he or she should try to open the windows in the room if possible. Any equipment, and even vehicles, should never run idly inside of an unventilated area like a garage, especially if the garage is attached to the house.
2. Use Devices With a HEPA Filtration System
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap a great deal of allergens because they can catch such small particles. Inside, they have filters that are able to be removed and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure they’re not continuously putting the same harmful particles back into the air.
3. Buy Machine Washable Items
To avoid putting the chemicals from dry cleaning into the air, purchase machine washable clothing and bedding. Plus, machine washable bedding makes it easier for a person to wash the linens weekly, which cuts back on the number of allergens in the room significantly.
4. Regulate Humidity
Although air that’s too dry is uncomfortable to breathe and can lead to sinus issues like frequent nose bleeds, air that’s too moist leads to mold and mildew. To find a happy medium where the air is comfortable to breathe and not contributing to the growth of fungus, keep the humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Those who opt for a humidifier should clean them frequently.
5. Utilize Bathroom Exhaust Fans
Showers and baths put moisture into the air, but a person can reduce the amount of moisture by always running an exhaust fan when bathing. A homeowner can have it installed, so the fan turns on with the flick of the same switch that turns the light on. This helps an individual turn it on every time he or she takes a shower.
6. Add Flora to the House
Houseplants add a unique element to the decor. They also filter carbon dioxide. Plants that filter air include peace lilies, snake plants, chrysanthemums and English ivy.
7. Open Doors and Windows
When possible, open the doors and windows and let some fresh air into the home.
8. Check HVAC Filters
Change or clean HVAC filters regularly. Make sure they fit well and are in place.
9. Vent to the Outside
Fireplaces, range tops, furnaces, exhaust fans and heaters should all vent to the outside away from windows and HVAC intakes.
10. Schedule Regular HVAC Tune-ups
Schedule regular HVAC system tune-ups in order to ensure the system works properly and efficiently. During the inspection, a professional will clean out the system.
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