As the fall months usher in cooler temperatures, many homeowners will be turning on their furnaces and fireplaces for the first time since the spring. Learn more about ways you can protect the indoor air quality of your home during the cooler months of the season.
Tip #1 Change Your Furnace Filter
Before firing up your furnace for the first time in a few months, it is imperative that you change your filter. Changing air filters regularly improves the air quality inside your home, cuts down on energy costs, and prevents damage to your heating and cooling system while prolonging their life. Consider purchasing a filter that contains activated carbon; this will help to reduce the level of chemicals in the breathing air. High efficiency filters can even reduce indoor air pollutants such as mold spores, pollen, and bacteria.
Tip #2 Have a Professional Inspect Your Aging Furnace
The average lifespan for a furnace is 16-20 years. If your furnace is getting closer to the end of its life expectancy it is a good idea to call out an HVAC company for a professional inspection. Furnaces lose their efficiency as they age and require more maintenance. Older furnaces often lose their ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. The air inside your home may feel stuffy or stale. If you suffer from allergies caused by dust, mold, pollen, or dander an older furnace may be exacerbating your symptoms. Have a professional inspect your furnace and provide routine maintenance.
Tip #3 Have Your Fireplace Inspected and Cleaned before Use
Whether you have a wood burning, gas, or freestanding fireplace, you should have it inspected and cleaned by a professional once a year. A thorough inspection includes checking the fan, pilots and burners, proper ignition and combustion, venting, and chimney draw. Protect your indoor air quality by making sure your fireplace is in good working order before lighting it for the first time this fall.
Tip #4 Open Your Windows on Warmer Days
There is no substitution for fresh air. On days when you find the temperatures above normal during the cooler months, open up some windows and let fresh air circulate. If possible, leave a window in your bedroom cracked open for a few hours each day to allow some fresh air indoors.
Tip #5 Turn Your Celling Fans On
Ceiling fans help circulate the air throughout your home. During the winter months when it is impossible to open windows and allow fresh air inside, turn your ceiling fans on. Install ceiling fans in rooms that don’t get a lot of ventilation such as basements, and ALWAYS run your exhaust fans while cooking to adequately vent cooking fumes during the winter months.