Indoor air quality is not limited to just the smell of your home. Just as drinking clean water is important for your health, breathing clean air is equally important. To ensure clean water, many people invest in water filters, purifiers, and other systems. Similarly, it’s important to take steps to improve the quality of the air you breathe during the winter months. Consider how winter affects the indoor air quality of your home and implement measures to enhance your overall home experience. Read on to learn reasons that your indoor air quality worsens in the winter months.

Gas and Wood-Burning Appliances

When the temperature drops, there’s nothing quite like coming home to a warm and cozy environment. While turning up the heat or using a space heater can do the trick, lighting a fireplace can create an even more inviting atmosphere. However, it’s important to remember that fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can release pollutants into the air, which can negatively impact indoor air quality if not properly maintained.

If you’re not intentional about taking steps to ensure that pollutants exit your home, they can linger in the air and pose a health risk. Even if it feels good to experience the warmth of a burning wood fireplace, using it multiple times a week can still negatively impact your indoor air quality. The same goes for gas appliances like stoves, which also release pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide that need to be vented outside to maintain clean air inside your home.

Ventilation Concerns

One of the reasons why combustion appliances can be harmful to indoor air quality is that pollutants and particles have no efficient way to exit your home. It’s important to create a routine to clear out pollutants, but it’s also important to remember that reduced ventilation is a common issue during the winter months. People often use weather stripping and caulking methods to keep cold air out and warm air inside, which is an understandable goal when trying to stay warm and conserve energy. However, it’s important to factor in the necessity of ventilation for maintaining healthy indoor air. When everything is tightly sealed and secured, ventilation becomes less efficient and accessible.

Allergens and Bacteria

When you come home, you bring all kinds of bacteria, germs, and allergens with you. These allergens can spread through the air, settle into your carpets, and infiltrate your furniture fabrics. If you have pets, it can be even more challenging to stay on top of their allergens and bacteria. Even if you’re taking your dogs out for walks, they can pick up bacteria and germs that they bring back into your home.

If you don’t have a routine for getting rid of allergens, your home can become a breeding ground for them. This can negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality and your health if you don’t take steps to get rid of them and prevent them from circulating throughout the air.

Lack of Humidity

During the winter months, humidity levels can drop due to several factors. One of the main factors is the colder outdoor temperature, which forces people to turn on the heat inside their homes. As the heat circulates through the house, it tends to make the air inside more dry. This can be especially problematic for people with respiratory or skin issues, as the dry air can exacerbate existing problems. It can also make it difficult to sleep well when your respiratory system is challenged. Without a plan in place to add humidity to the air, these issues can become more serious down the line.

HVAC System Protocols

Having a maintenance plan for your HVAC system is crucial to ensuring its longevity and efficiency. Without a plan in place, it can be difficult to know when your system is in need of care. At the very least, an annual checkup of your heating system is recommended to ensure it’s functioning properly. However, if there are sections of the system that need to be cleaned or repaired, it’s important to address these minor repairs before they turn into major issues.

Neglected HVAC systems can also introduce various pollutants that can be harmful to your health. Air filters are also essential to change on a consistent basis. When you turn on the heat through your HVAC system, it circulates through the air filters first. If the air filter is dirty, it’ll only push out more dirty air throughout your home, which can impact the quality of your indoor air during the winter months.

Practical Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Thankfully, you can employ a number of protocols in order to improve the quality of your indoor air during the winter months. This process takes effort, but your well-being and comfort are worth it.

Cultivate an Allergen Reduction Plan

Maintaining a great cleaning schedule is crucial when it comes to allergen reduction because allergens can be difficult to see. To ensure that you stick to a schedule, find ways to clean the countertops, tabletops, and other areas of your home regularly. If you have carpet, make sure to maintain a weekly cleaning schedule, as allergens can easily get trapped in carpets. Changing your sheets at least once a week is also important for reducing the number of allergens you come into contact with.

Additionally, taking off your shoes when you enter your home helps to decrease the amount of bacteria and germs that are brought in. If you have pets, they naturally carry allergens, so keeping their fur or hair short and staying on top of their grooming can reduce the amount of indoor allergens that can spread.

Fresh Air Circulation and Exhaust Fan Usage

Maintaining good ventilation is important in keeping the indoor air warm and save money, as well as to cultivate a clean environment. To achieve this, it’s recommended to adopt a dual-pronged approach. The first step is to open your windows occasionally. It’s helpful to open them once or twice every few days, or even two to three times a week.

When you open your windows, you should leave them open for about 15 minutes at a time. You don’t have to open them wide; a small crack in the window is enough to allow air to circulate and keep fresh air introduced to your home setting. Additionally, when cooking on the stovetop, always turn on the exhaust fan. This helps to absorb and soak up all of the pollutants that are generated when you’re cooking with strong spices, vegetable oils, and more.

Invest in Key Tools

Investing in an air purifier and a humidifier can greatly improve the indoor air quality of your home. An air purifier with a HEPA filter is particularly important. This is because it efficiently removes particles and pollutants, and helps eliminate lingering odors. Oftentimes, we become immune to the odors in our homes, but an air purifier works to remove them, even those we can’t smell due to nose blindness.

On the other hand, a humidifier has numerous health benefits. However, it is important to also purchase a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your home. Adding too much humidity can lead to mold growth and other issues, so it’s important to monitor and maintain the appropriate levels.

Incorporating Professional Assistance

Our team at Bold City Heating & Air provides indoor air quality solutions and services to Jacksonville, FL and surrounding communities. With our years of service and reputation for professional quality, our highly skilled team of professionals offers services in heating, cooling, and duct cleaning as well. To learn more about how we can properly assist you in your efforts to improve your indoor air quality, contact us today!

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