As temperatures drop and people start spending more time indoors, it’s crucial to ensure that your indoor air quality is as healthy as possible.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of adverse health effects, from sniffling and sneezing to itchy eyes or worsened asthma symptoms. To keep air quality-related health problems at bay, it’s important to know what causes poor indoor air quality in the first place.
Experts say many of the things homeowners do during fall and winter can have a negative impact on indoor air quality.
Tips to improve indoor air
Seasonal candles, home renovation projects, and cold and flu season can amplify airborne dangers, as can using a fireplace.
A few signs that the air in your home may not be as clean as it needs to be include: mold, chemical smells, foggy windows and mirrors, and lingering cooking smells.
To help transform your home into a clean-air haven, consider adding the following tasks to your seasonal to-do list:
Tackle seasonal maintenance. Change your furnace filter to make sure heating appliances are working efficiently. Clean out air ducts and chimneys to minimize dust, lint, and debris.
Eliminate mold. Mold and moisture can wreak havoc on indoor air quality. To get rid of mildew buildup, give your showers and toilets a good scrub. Additionally, be sure to fix leaky sinks and faucets and keep bathrooms properly ventilated.
Clean regularly. Wash linens frequently in hot water, vacuum regularly (making sure not to forget doormats), and remove shoes upon entering your home.
Invest in an air purifier. Indoor air purifiers can help cleanse indoor air of pet dander, dust mites, viruses, and lingering odors.
Look for low VOC. Fall is a great time to complete DIY home projects, but certain projects can negatively affect indoor air. If you will be re-varnishing or reupholstering furniture, look for low or no volatile organic compound (VOC) options. When bringing in new furniture or home goods, allow it to air out thoroughly before spending time in the room with it.
Limit use of sneaky air quality offenders. Plush pillows, rugs and curtains, seasonal candles, paint, and glue/caulk can “bring invisible but harmful particles and irritants into the home,” say the experts at Blueair.
Install a fan or hood. For optimal ventilation, your kitchen should have a range hood and your bathroom should have an appropriately-sized fan. Use fans every time after cooking and showering.
Follow the 10-minute rule. Run your range hood for at least 10 minutes after cooking to eliminate lingering smells and particulates. Do the same after showering to remove humidity.
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