With winter around the corner, most of us will be spending a considerable amount of time indoors. If you live in a climate with a harsh winter, you’ll be spending upwards of 90% of your day inside. And if you’ve looked into air quality before, you know that indoor air quality is often much lower than outdoor air quality.
And why is this? Indoor air is often less diluted than outdoor air and the pollutants inside take a significantly longer time to dissipate. This is due to low air flow and poor air circulation within the home. Unfortunately this is the case with many modern homes.
Many older homes have been air sealed so as not to let cold air in and warm air out. While this is GREAT for our energy consumption, it often leads to poor indoor air quality. The fresh air has no way to get into the house except through an open door or window.
Furnaces and Air Conditioners bring fresh air inside.
While you’re cooped up inside this winter, take an opportunity to check off this list of ways to improve your indoor air quality. Many of these are small, inexpensive projects you could tackle in a weekend morning.
CHANGE OUT FURNACE FILTERS
The type of filter you choose can play a big part in the quality of your indoor air. I recommend a furnace filter with a MERV Rating of 12 or higher. This stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, referring to the effectiveness of the filter. Personally, I recommend Nordic Pure as they are cost effective and high quality.
TIP: Buy a box of filters so they are on hand all year-long. This will help you remember to change the filter often.
CHANGE YOUR CLEANING STRATEGY
Mix each of the above recipes into a glass spray bottle (darker spray bottles keep the potency of the oils from lessening.)
MONITOR YOUR INDOOR AIR
One of the best tools to hit the market is Awair's indoor air quality monitor. This little box tracks toxins, chemicals, dust, CO2, humidity and temperature. Knowing the indoor quality of your air has honestly never been easier.
Monitoring your air is the best way to begin to correct any problems you may be experiencing. Poor indoor air quality can affect everything from allergies to sleep and asthma to eczema. It’s important to know what is going on with your air. If you have no idea, then you will also have no idea how to fix it.
It’s a great tool to help your family improve the indoor air quality within your home.
REDUCE MOISTURE INSIDE
REMOVE AND PREVENT DUST
Dust is not only an allergen, but it can also contain bacteria and viruses, depending on where it comes from. Reducing dust doesn’t mean dusting your house every day. NO THANK YOU! No, there are easy ways to reduce dust and prevent it instead.
First and foremost, every few winters it is a great idea to have your HVAC venting cleaned if a forced air furnace is your main form of heating. This is an especially good idea if you have pets. Homes with pets tend to see a lot more dust and debris from animal dander and shedding.
Second, double check and make sure your dryer vent is properly vented outside without any connections coming loose. And if you’re getting your HVAC venting cleaned it’s not a bad idea to have them clean your dryer vent as well, which can be a fire hazard on top of introducing lint and dust into your air.
Last, do a little dusting here and there to remove the particles that settle on surfaces. This all-natural spray and a microfiber cloth can actually prevent dust from settling in the future as well.
CONTAIN CRAFT PRODUCTS AND PAINT
GET A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR
I am a Certified Professional Home Inspector and Certified Building Biologist through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and International Institute for Building Biology. I have trained with Internachi as well as the Water Quality Standards Academy and the EPA.