Improving Indoor Air Quality During the Fall and Winter
During the late fall and winter time, many people choose to close off their homes to the outside world. However, this causes the indoor air to become trapped inside the home, which could result in a buildup of pollutants that then re-circulate for the rest of the season. With this in mind, there are quick and easy ways that you can improve your home’s indoor air quality this fall and winter.
Increase the Home’s Ventilation
When a home is properly ventilated, air is constantly being circulated throughout the building. With most newer homes now being designed to be energy efficient, however, fresh, outdoor air is often rarely allowed to enter the home. Window and bathroom exhaust fans can help introduce outside air indoors without cooling off the home.
Additionally, you may want to wait to complete any projects that require the use of products that give off pollutants until the weather is warm enough to open the windows for a bit. For example, if you plan on repainting a room or upgrading an old piece of furniture, it may be best to hold off until warmer weather as the paint may contain pollutants that could be harmful. Without proper ventilation, those pollutants will just continue circle throughout the home until the warm weather arrives.
Control the Moisture Levels
During the fall and winter months, the air tends to become dry, especially in the home. A little bit of moisture keeps a home’s occupants more comfortable. However, too much moisture can encourage mold, mildew and bacteria growth, all of which decreases a home’s indoor air quality. It is recommended that you keep your home’s humidity levels above 30 percent and lower than 60 percent when possible.
Minimize Pollutant Sources
Many home items and materials release harmful pollutants, known as volatile organic compounds, long after they’ve been used or installed. Carpeting, certain types of flooring and paint all give off fumes and other pollutants for long periods of time after installation or application. Chemical household cleaning products and any gases used for heating also decrease indoor air quality, as pollutants are constantly being introduced into the indoor environment.
While some pollutant sources are inevitable, such as gases used for heating, there are some alternative materials and cleaners available that won’t release pollutants. For example, a mixture of vinegar and water or even water and baking soda can be used for simple cleaning projects.
Keep the Home Clean
Routinely dusting and vacuuming can help you keep certain pollutants, such as pet dander and mites, at bay. Using a damp cloth on items that need to be dusted will keep the dust from becoming airborne and irritate those who suffer from allergies. Regularly washing pet beds and other areas where your four-legged friends love to hang out can also help you keep control over certain pollutants that may pollute indoor air. Make sure to replace vacuum filters and other air filters as recommended to help increase the home’s indoor air quality.
Consider Using an Air Purifier
Air filters can assist you with removing pollutants from the air. As with any appliance, however, they have a range of effectiveness based on the type and quality of the purifier. While whole-house purifiers remove more pollutants than table-top purifiers, they can be expensive to install. Table-top purifiers that high air-circulation rate and a high percentage efficiency rate may work well if they are placed near sources of pollutants, such as near a newly-painted wall or freshly-painted furniture.