Winter is hard on everyone, from people to plants and animals. But cold weather can be hard on your home, too -- and especially the air inside. So unless you plan on holding your breath until springtime, it’s a good idea to take some time to think about how you can improve the quality and freshness of the oxygen you’ll be inhaling indoors throughout the long winter months. We talk a lot about outdoor air quality in America and the effects of environmental pollution, but the reality is that our indoors are some of the most polluted places where we breathe because they trap so many allergens and particles in such a small space! The effects of winter on your home can be wide-ranging, but here are some of the most important when it comes to air quality:

  • Insulation: the double-edged sword.
    While you obviously want to seal all the cracks around your windows, doors and other places where cold air can seep into your home and increase your heating bills, what you can unfortunately end up doing is sealing in air that will only get recirculated again and again -- and get dirtier and dirtier -- unless you take proactive steps to ensure it is continually cleaned. The first and most important step is to replace your furnace’s air filter at least every 90 days. It can’t hurt to change it even more frequently -- the cleaner the filter, the cleaner your air. The next step is to find a way to ventilate your home without opening every window and door the way you might during the warmer spring months. Heat recovery ventilatHomeowner Changing Air Filtersors and energy recovery ventilators are two pieces of equipment which can help you get rid of the air that’s been trapped in your house and cycle in fresher air to help keep you from breathing the same air all winter.
  • Air ducts and ventilation dirt.
    Even homes with good air quality are still prone to toxic particles becoming problems if you’re not cleaning routinely by vacuuming and dusting your fixtures. But even then, all kinds of allergens will be tossed into the air and cycled through your air return vent, through your furnace and back out your air ducts. Your furnace filter won’t catch all of the particles, especially if it’s dirty, and eventually the dust, dander, lint and other little bitty pieces of nastiness that you don’t want to breathe will collect bit by bit in your vents. Use a wet cloth to wipe the outside and inside of your registers and if you see any black buildup, it’s time for an air duct cleaning. Just think about all the additional residue that you can’t see all the way through the many yards of ventilation ductwork throughout your home! A professional air duct cleaning from a certified provider like AdvantaClean will ensure that your furnace is pushing you the cleanest air possible to breathe this winter.
  • Beware VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
    Painting or remodeling can be toxic during the winter because more of the fumes and dangerous chemical compounds can foul up your indoor air and create an additional health hazard for you and your family. So it’s probably worth investing in a brand of paint that was no VOCs -- and if you’re having a company do the work for you, ask them about the kinds of products they will be using and ensure they are properly ventilating your home during and after their work.
  • Smoking and pets.
    If you smoke inside your home, you’re making it a trap for all sorts of harmful chemicals for the others who live there. It may be cold, but consider stepping outside to spare others from getting second-hand smoke that will harm them in the long run. Many of us also have pets, and they’re part of the family, too -- but they can also introduce an incredible amount of dirt into your home. So make sure you brush and bathe them, and vacuum your home frequently to help get rid of hair and dander.

How Pet Dander Affects Indoor Air Quality

  • Furnace efficiency and carbon monoxide.
    Schedule a professional HVAC company to check your system for any cracks or leaks and the ensure it’s running at its peak efficiency. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is another must to identify safety issues during the cold months. Remember that carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill! These detectors are very affordable -- some are as little as $10-20 -- and it’s not worth risking your family’s safety over that little money.
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    More info? For more information on ways to purify your indoor air during the winter season, check out our other post, PET FRIENDLY INDOOR PLANTS THAT PURIFY THE AIR

    Call 877.800.2382 to speak with a knowledgeable customer service representative and/or to schedule an air duct cleaning with AdvantaClean today!