Most people don’t realize how poor the air inside their home is under normal circumstances, but the problem is typically exacerbated every single winter. When the weather outside brings colder temperatures, rain, snow, and ice, we keep our homes closed up tight, and that leads to an accumulation of odors, dust, dander, and plenty of other issues. When combined with a lack of humidity and a number of other factors, it’s easy to see how indoor air quality can plummet to extremely low levels.
However, improving your indoor air quality is not impossible, and it’s not even all that difficult in many cases either. Here are a few indoor air quality tips designed to help you breathe easier during the winter season.
One of the biggest reasons for the plunge in indoor air quality is a big decrease in humidity. While your humidity readings may remain the same on the weather report, the truth is that the actual amount of vapor in the air around you is significantly lower. Humidity readings are usually a measurement of relative humidity, or a reading that shows how much moisture is in the air compared to the maximum amount that the air can contain based on its temperature. The hotter the air, the more humidity it can hold. Thus, colder air at 90% humidity contains far less moisture than warmer air at the same percentage.
While you can’t really increase humidity outdoors, you can increase the humidity inside with a humidifier. We recommend a whole-home humidifier that can be installed directly into your HVAC system. These humidifiers often require little extra energy and can be connected directly to your water supply so they can continually supply themselves with the moisture they need.
Allow Fresh Air into Your Home
Fresh air makes a huge difference when it comes to your health and to removing old, stale air that is full of odors and other issues. If you find that you’re dealing with spouts of lethargy, headaches, allergies, or other health issues, your body could be reacting to old, stale indoor air that you’re breathing constantly during this period. And with COVID still remaining a threat, we’re going to be spending even more time at home during the holidays than we ever have before, which will only make the problem even worse.
We cannot understate the importance of regularly allowing fresh air into your home. The best way to do this is to simply open your doors and windows for a limited amount of time each day and allow fresh, outdoor air to change places with your stale, indoor air. Opening a couple of windows for about 10 minutes each day will make a huge difference in your health and quality of life during this period. If you’re looking for a way of improving ventilation without losing heat, a heat-exchanging ventilation system may be the perfect investment for your home.
Avoid Heavy-Odor Activities
Odors tend to accumulate during the holidays. Between spending more time at home, cooking large meals, and typical seasonal activities (such as bringing in a fresh Christmas tree), it’s not uncommon for homes to accumulate a ton of odors. And likewise, with more people spending more time inside, as will be the case this year, other odors such as sweat and body odor may build up from those who work out or break a sweat completing a task indoors. While it may be tempting to do many of these things from the comfort of our homes, try your best to do these activities outside, or at least move to the garage, where the air is separated off from the rest of your home. Your nose (and any guests you may have) will appreciate your efforts.
Dust & Vacuum Frequently
Finally, dusting and vacuuming are extremely important parts of keeping your home clean, but they’re so much more than a visual thing. These are the two most important types of cleaning you can do for your indoor air quality. Dusting tables, chairs, shelves, and other areas where debris can accumulate helps radically improve your indoor air quality as well as makes your home feel cleaner. However, be sure to use a specialized cleaner that traps the dust—simply sweeping it into the air with a duster actually makes your air quality much worse.
Vacuuming helps remove dust and hidden debris from your carpets throughout your home. This is often tracked in on our shoes as we return from outside, and this dust is kicked up when we walk over it. Regularly vacuuming keeps this dust concentration to a minimum, and thus keeps your air cleaner. However, be sure to change the air filter on your vacuum cleaner and change the bag or empty the canister regularly.Learn more about improving your indoor air quality by calling Winters® Home Services at (617) 977-3101 today!