Is the air in your home safe? If you can’t definitively answer this question, this blog post is for you! According to the EPA, Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. Whether you’re at school, home, or in the office, paying attention to air quality and safety is something many of us overlook. As we approach the colder months, we are sure to spend even more time indoors. This blog post will help you ensure you have the freshest, cleanest air possible to breathe no matter where you’re cooped up.
Why Does Air Quality Matter More in the Winter?
When the chilly air begins to blow, you may keep all your windows and doors shut to trap the heat in. But this measure can lead to stuffy, stagnant air. Also, allergens, pollutants, and dust can become trapped in your home, accumulating at unsafe levels. Luckily, you can counteract this issue with the tips below!
5 Things That Negatively Impact Indoor Air Quality
Aside from closed windows and doors, several other factors contribute to poor indoor air quality in the winter, including:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is an odorless gas that is released when we breathe. If you’ve battened down the hatches to keep your house warm this winter, there’s a risk of elevated CO2 levels – and we all know what that means – danger to you, your family, and pets.
- Humidity. If you experience dry skin in the winter, a humidifier may seem like the perfect solution. But you may want to think again. Humid air is a perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and mildew. A shocking 70% of homes are reported to have a mold problem, and the scary part: mold can’t always be spotted without conducting a test with a home inspector. Signs that it may be time to turn off your humidifier include condensation on the windows, white stains on concrete floors, discoloration on the walls, ceilings, or floors, and musty odors. If you find any of these warning signs, it’s time to have your home’s ventilation system inspected to make sure air is flowing through your house as it should.
- Temperature. Did you know that dust mites love the heat?But it’s not just allergies you have to worry about when you crank up the heat… chemicals inside your home tend to leach out more quickly when the thermostat rises.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemical pollutants that have a high vapor pressure at normal room temperature. Elevated VOCs can lead to severe throat, eye, and nose irritation, nausea, and headaches. VOCs can also damage your internal organs and central nervous systems and even cause cancer. The biggest offenders when it comes to VOCs are aerosol fragrances, cleaning sprays, wood preservatives, and paints.
- Radon. As we mentioned in a previous blog, radon is a natural radioactive gas caused by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. Radon is of concern because it is the #2 leading source of lung cancer in the US. If you’re keeping all your windows shut to keep heat in – radon can quickly become a problem in your home. Because it can quickly fluctuate throughout the year, scheduling a radon test or investing in consumer-grade radon monitoring equipment is essential.
5 Ways to Improve Air Quality This Winter
It’s now time to explore some of the ways to keep your home’s air safe and clean this winter.
- Test for radon and mold right away. The only way to be 100% sure radon and mold isn’t affecting your indoor air quality is with a test.
- Dust regularly. Bust out that fluffy duster and eradicate the dust from your life each week through the winter. In fact, it’s the easiest and cheapest way to guarantee safe indoor air quality. Don’t forget to regularly wash household fabrics like couch covers, curtains, and rugs to keep down the dirt, dust, and dander.
- Green your space. Houseplants can breathe new life into any stuffy home. Try incorporating some of these air-cleaning plants into your decor for fresher air year-round:
- Aloe Vera
- Boston Fern
- Spider Plant
- Peace Lily
- Heart Leaf Philodendron
- To learn more about air-purifying house plants, please read our blog, 7 Simple Steps to Improve Air Quality in Your Home.
- Open Your Windows. We know it’s COLD out. But cracking your windows for 10-15 minutes a day (or even a week) can do wonders for improving air quality in your home this winter. Let all that dust, allergens, and pollutants out for a healthier home.
- Change HVAC filters. Don’t forget to replace filters for your HVAC system every 6-12 months. Setting a reminder on your phone is an easy way to stay on track. A new HVAC filter will make your system run more efficiently, saving you money. Learn more about maintaining common heating systems in the UP here.
Schedule an Air Quality Test With UP Home Inspection LLC. Today
Do you suspect an issue with your home’s air quality? In that case, be sure to schedule a mold, radon, and air quality test today with UP Home Inspection LLC. Schedule Your Air Quality Test Here.