Now that the weather is colder, you’ve probably put plenty of thought into how to keep your home cozy and energy efficient this winter.
But keeping your house well insulated and airtight does come with it’s share of issues.
Without some warm air escaping outdoors, and some cold air coming in, your family will spend more time breathing stale, recirculated air.
This stagnant air can cause a variety of health problems and irritations if not addressed.
Harvard Health says, “For people who are sensitive to indoor allergens or who have respiratory problems, winter can exacerbate problems.
Stale indoor air and heating systems can increase the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores circulating through your house.
In late winter and early spring, it may still be too chilly to throw open the windows to pull out the musty air, so while you await the warmer weather it’s important to be aware of some of the allergy and respiratory triggers that may be lurking in your surroundings.”
So what’s the solution?
Tear out the weather strips, and deal with the drafts and the high utility bills?
Fortunately, there are several ways of combating poor air quality while still keeping your home cozy, warm, and healthy.
Keep Your Home Clean
While this one may seem simple, it’s one of the easiest ways you can keep dust and allergens at bay in your home.
Regularly vacuuming and dusting with non toxic, natural cleaners will help reduce irritating dirt, dust, and mold.
If you use natural cleaners, you won’t be adding any harsh chemicals into your home environment that may exacerbate breathing conditions.
Change Your Air Filters Regularly
Not only do clean HVAC filters help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently, but they also keep a lot of dust and contaminants out of the air in your home.
It’s recommended that you change your air filter every few months or so, depending on the type.
It may also be a good idea to upgrade your filter is the winter time.
A better quality filter during these months will help lock our more irritants and bacteria, and will do wonders for the air quality in your home.
Consider An Air To Air Heat Exchanger
“Bringing in outside air and exhausting indoor air (ventilation) dilutes or removes the indoor pollutants and moisture.
The question is: How do you remove the moisture and pollutants while retaining the heated or cooled air?
An air-to-air heat exchanger will solve that problem.
Air exchangers transfer the thermal energy of the indoor air to incoming fresh air, allowing the moisture and pollutants to be vented but retaining the heat.”
Try An Air Purifier
Not only do air purifiers remove dust and mold from the air, but good ones actually help manage airborne bacteria and viruses.
Many air purifiers are shown to reduce allergy symptoms, and can even prevent cold and flu season germs from spreading.
Clean Your Air Ducts And Vents
Hopefully before you turned your HVAC system on this winter you took the time to vacuum your ducts and vents – but if you haven’t, it’s not too late!
Turning your heat off and thoroughly vacuuming out any existing dirt in your duct work and floor vents will greatly reduce the amount of dust being blown around your home.
Let Fresh Air In Whenever Possible
“Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house.
Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate.
Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.”
Get An HVAC Inspection
A yearly tune up is an important part of HVAC home maintenance, and getting your system checked before or during the winter is recommended if you want to keep your home warm and safe.
A certified technician will be able to head of any potential problems with your venting systems and air ducts that could lead to dangerous emissions in your home.
They should also be able to give you recommendations on how you can improve your indoor air quality over the winter months.