You would think that it would be less important to worry about pollution during the winter months. And yet if anything, the opposite may be true. The EPA has found that indoor air pollution is now an even bigger threat than pollution outdoors. Moreover, in the age we live in, where we are both spending more time indoors and need to work harder than ever to protect our air quality, it is vital to get rid of indoor air pollutants. Keep reading to learn the 10 ways you can improve your indoor air quality during the winter months, courtesy of Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
The Top 10 Ways You Can Improve Your IAQ This Winter:
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Contaminants: It is possible there are things in your home contributing to indoor air pollution you don’t even know about. Since you’re probably going to be spending more time indoors this winter (and most people spend increased time indoors during the winter anyway,) you should get rid of unnecessary contaminant-producers, such as toxic cleaning products, old paints and cosmetics, and anything that produces an excess amount of smoke.
- Clean Regularly: We know it sounds simple, but regular cleaning can go a long way to improving your indoor air quality. You should dust and wipe down surfaces every week, always using non-toxic chemicals. Vacuuming your carpet regularly (ideally with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter) is a good idea too, since there are numerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulates that reside in carpeting.
- Check Your Air Ducts: If you have never had your air ducts cleaned, it is possible your HVAC system is recirculating a lot of dust. Check your ductwork regularly and clean them if necessary, or call a professional to clean them for you.
- Change Your Air Filter: Ideally, you should change (or clean, if it is reusable) your air filter at the beginning of every new season, or bi-annually, at a bare minimum. However, just as you may need to change your air filter more than once over the summer due to increased air conditioner use, the same is true for your heater’s filter during the winter.
- Upgrade to a MERV Filter: MERV filters have a higher efficiency rating, meaning fewer contaminants and particulates for you to deal with.
- Improve Your Ventilation: If you have noticed mold in your property recently, or found that things are simply stuffier than they should be, your home probably has poor ventilation. Although it’s the wintertime, you may want to open the occasional window to let some fresh air in. Simple things like running fans and cleaning your heating equipment can also help with this.
- Install Energy-Recovery Ventilators: Also known as air-heat exchangers, energy recovery ventilators are specifically manufactured to remove excessive amounts of humidity in your space. These systems replace old, stale air with new, fresh air, while also removing indoor air pollutants. These systems can also help you control humidity during the summer, and as an added bonus, they will not put any strain on your energy bill, as they use excess energy recovered from your system to heat your air.
- Consider Installing an Indoor Air Quality Device: At Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we can install a variety of devices in your home to help improve air quality. We offer both humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as your home may either be too dry or too humid during winter depending on several factors. We also provide UV lights, which can reduce biological contaminants such as bacteria and mold, and quality air filters that can cut down on everything from dust and odors to viruses and pathogens. If you are experiencing increased allergy/respiratory issues, have any immunocompromised people living with you, or simply want to feel better and breathe easier this winter, call today to learn which IAQ device is right for your household.