How to Improve Winter Air Quality in Your Home
When you hear that your city is experiencing a day of poor air quality, you might think it's better to just stay inside. Wrong. Indoor air quality is much worse than outdoor air quality. Here is a guideline for how to improve winter air quality in your home:
What can you do to improve indoor air quality?
- Clean Regularly - Reducing dust through regular dusting and vacuuming is key to preventing the buildup of allergens. First, dust with microfiber cloths moving from top to bottom in your home. Next, vacuum with a HEPA filter vacuum to ensure you are actually removing dirt and allergens and not just shifting them around. Another great way to reduce dust is to remove your shoes when you enter the home.
- Use Nontoxic Cleaning Products - Bleach, ammonia, and other harsh cleaning products can irritate throats and lungs and contribute to poor air quality. Stick to non-toxic, non-irritating cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. These natural cleaners have the added benefit of being inexpensive.
- Filter the Air - Change the air filters in your home regularly. If you have serious allergy problems, consider investing in a HEPA air filter.
- Ventilate the Home - Indoor air quality is particularly poor in the winter because we are less likely to open windows and air out our homes. Airing your home out is the best way to improve air quality. One way to air the home out without leaving yourself shivering: 10 minutes before leaving the home for the day, quickly open all exterior doors and at least one window in each room. Let the home air out for at least 5 minutes. Securely close all doors and windows. Set the thermostat to your preferred indoor temperature prior to heading out, and it should be back up to your regular temperature when you get home. Air your home out at least once a week in the winter time.
- Get Air Ducts Cleaned - If you are using your home’s heating or cooling system, all of the air you breathe passes through it. Now consider the last time the HVAC system was cleaned. Wintertime increases the problem because not only is the heating system running most of the time, we want to keep doors and windows closed to retain heat within the home. Air duct cleaning will ensure that any accumulated dust, mold, and allergens are removed from the HVAC system and can even improve the system’s performance.
- Prevent Mold - Mold can trigger allergies and asthma, especially in children. Prevent indoor mold growth by controlling humidity. Use a dehumidifier as needed to keep humidity under 60%. Always use ventilation fans during and after cooking and showering.
- Keep the Bedroom Clean - We spend a significant amount of time sleeping; if you keep the bedroom clean, you can significantly reduce your exposure to dust, dander, dust mites, and other allergens. Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week. Dust and vacuum weekly. Consider keeping pets out of the bedroom to further reduce allergens.
- Say No to Smoke - While a crackling fire is a wintertime pleasure; it can ruin your home’s air quality. Avoid burning candles as well. All forms of combustion will release pollutants in your home’s air. Needless to say, do not allow cigarette smoking indoors.
While improving indoor air quality is a year-round task, it is particularly critical in the winter when we spend more time indoors and are less likely to crack a window. With a little time and extra care, you can breathe clean air, even when the temperature drops.
If nothing seems to be working, call the experts at COIT. Our technicians are available day or night to quickly diagnose problems and restore high-quality air inside your home.