New seasonal air quality issues are upon us. As temperatures begin to drop and people start spending more time indoors, it’s crucial to ensure that your home’s air quality is as healthy as possible.
Experts say many of the things homeowners do during fall and winter can have a negative impact on indoor air quality.
To-dos to improve you home’s indoor air
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.
Seasonal candles, home renovation projects, and cold and flu season can amplify airborne dangers, as can using a fireplace.
To help transform your home, consider adding the following tasks to your seasonal to-do list:
1. Look for low VOC Materials
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.
2. Thermal health
Pulling in filtered fresh air from the outside is essential to proper indoor HVAC ventilation. Keep your home’s thermostat at a comfortable level throughout the day in order to promote continuous circulation of clean air. It’s also a good idea to open a window when running interior exhaust vents to avoid pulling unwanted air into your home from an attic or crawl space.
2. 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.
Do you shower without running the ventilation fan? Do you opt for open windows versus air conditioning to cool your dwelling down when it’s warm outside? Do you have leaky roofs, indoor faucets or appliances?
Answering yes to any of these questions associated with increased moisture levels within a home also means a greater chance for mold growth.
Moisture inside a home spells trouble very quickly with the hazards of mold growth and weakened structural integrity. Here are some mold prevention tips.
Managing your home’s humidity levels is easy with a separately controlled dehumidifier unit that integrates with the HVAC system. A level between 35% – 55% relative humidity is ideal. Periodically check plumbing and drainpipes for leaks and maintain proper flashing around windows and awnings to avoid leaks from heavy rains.
5. Invest in an air purifier
Indoor air purifiers can help cleanse indoor air of pet dander, dust mites, viruses, and lingering odors.
6. 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.
A clean and organized living environment is essential to maintaining focus and mental clarity. Clear out that clutter in closets, the home office, pantry and garage. Keep countertops clean and home decor simple and elegant. Remember that quality time is time well spent!
8. Scented candles and incense
It’s common knowledge that chemical-laden cleaners, sprays, and certain textiles can mess with air quality at home—but candles and incense? There’s a wide spectrum of ingredients in these products, and admonishing all of them feels harsh, especially to matchstick-hoarding, scent-addicted folks like myself. How to choose better candles and incense and use them safely.