Pets, people, and pollutants can contaminate the air in our homes year-round. In winter we keep doors and windows closed, which makes guarding against airborne spores and pollutants even harder. Here’s how preventative maintenance can help improve the indoor air quality in your home.
How to Improve Home Air Quality in Winter
Clean Carpets and Rugs
Carpets and rugs trap pet dander, dust mites, and other particles. Therefore, cleaning them weekly with a good vacuum cleaner can improve the air quality in your home. This is especially important in high-traffic areas. In those areas, steam cleaning might be necessary. While you have the vacuum out, use it on the drapes, upholstery, and under couch cushions. Oftentimes, indoor air quality issues will stay present in your home because these areas are rarely cleaned.
Buy Natural Air Fresheners
Plants naturally filter the air in your home. The best plants for fresh air in your house are lilies, palm trees, and ferns. These plants are good at pulling contaminants from the air and look good while doing it.
Clean Air Ducts
Air ducts circulate air throughout the house. Dirty, and unmaintained ducts can spread dust particles and pollutants such as mold spores that can cause severe health problems. If you have a tight chest, this could be a sign that the air ducts need attention. In some cases, it can be a good idea to have professionals check to make sure the air cuts are distributing clean air.
Clean and Replace AC Filters
The whole idea of an AC filter is to trap unwanted properties from being circulated. Therefore, regular cleaning is required. If the filter is looking rough, it may be time for a new filter. Replacing air filters is crucial as old, clogged filters can have a negative impact on the air conditioning unit’s motor and performance. In some cases, the AC system might need to be repaired or replaced entirely. However, cleaning and regularly changing the air filters will safeguard against, or at least delay, the need to replace the AC system.
Clean and Replace All Other Air Filters
Many household appliances also have air filters. This includes vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and clothes dryers. The latter is critical to maintaining air quality in the winter. Treat all appliances as if they were coffee machines. You change coffee filters, so change and clean the others too. It’s a good idea to replace appliance filters every few months (except the coffee filters – more regularly please).
Cooking vents, especially those near gas stoves, harbor a range of undesirables such as monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These pollutants are toxic and easy to absorb into the bloodstream. Kitchen pollutants can also circulate throughout the house. After deep cleaning cooking vents, be sure to switch them on while cooking. Also, open a window if you can do so without freezing. This will help to filter and freshen up the air in the kitchen.
Lastly, dehumidify the house. Dehumidifiers can reduce the amount of contaminated moisture in the air. Controlling humidity levels will also reduce susceptibility to respiratory problems.
Additional Reading: Indoor Environmental Quality: HVAC Management – Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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