Indoor air quality – we all want it, but when it’s freezing outside, how do we keep our air fresh and clean? We all know the signs and symptoms of this time of year: dry sinus cavities leading to bloody noses, running out of hand cream because your skin feels like an alligator’s and looks even worse. Not to mention dry, irritated itchy eyes. The onset of winter usually means more time spent indoors – unless you are one of those winter sports people who live to be on the slopes or ice or whatever it is you do out there on the tundra. Let’s discuss ways to make our indoor environment more comfortable and more importantly, healthier.
Cleanliness is next to IAQ happiness
It may seem obvious to most of us, but regular removal of dust and dirt is a must for keeping our air fresh and clean. Dusting, vacuuming and also checking the air distribution system of your home – i.e. fans and ductwork – for cleanliness is critical this time of year. Search on home improvement sites for highly rated duct cleaning contractors.
Check those Air Filters, people
For the love of clean air, check and replace your air filters! One of the simplest but most neglected home maintenance items is the air filter on your HVAC unit. A dirty filter means more dirt circulating in your home, and a clogged filter can actually shut down your equipment and at the very least reduce its efficiency. Consider upgrading to a higher rated filter. Choose a filter with a MERV rating of 5 or above to filter out finer particulates, and check them on a regular basis, replacing them at recommended intervals.
Consider adding a dehumidifier and or an Air purifier
Air purifiers capture particulate matter and can be ionic, electrostatic, or utilize HEPA filters. Do your research or get a recommendation from your HVAC professional. Dehumidifiers are a great solution to ease dry sinuses. Purchase an inexpensive humidity gauge or monitor. Ideal levels during the winter, especially in harsher climates, will have to be under 40% to avoid condensate on your windows. Try to maintain the humidity between 30% and 40% in wintertime.
Use houseplants with possible Air cleaning properties
That’s right, some believe that certain houseplants have the ability to clean the air. These include English Ivy, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, Spider Plants and Dragon Trees, among others. Do your research to determine if you think one or more of these potted pals is just the ticket to freshen the air in your posh palace. If one of them yells “feed me!” someday, don’t blame this article, please.
Don’t wait for winter to think about IAQ
Indoor Air Quality is a concern no matter what time of year. With all the emphasis on insulation and constructing “tight” buildings in recent years, it is important that we maintain adequate fresh air circulation and maintain our HVAC equipment at all times, even if just for the health of it. There have been many cases of illnesses being caused by “sick building syndrome”, that can masquerade as sinus infections and the like. A proactive approach will help you avoid having to deal with the consequences of ignoring your Indoor Air Quality this winter.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.