How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality This Winter?
We spend a lot of time indoors in winter, holing up in our cozy, airtight homes as frigid northern NJ winter air passes us safely by.
But could the air in our cozy homes also be making us sick?
Today’s indoor air contains more contaminants than ever – from dust, mold, dead skin, pet dander to indoor and outdoor pollutants from cleaners, construction materials and more. In fact, indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the EPA!
Winter makes indoor air quality an even more pressing issue, with its over-dry air and window-closing temperatures.
While poor indoor air may be especially harmful for children, the elderly, and asthma sufferers, regular exposure to it can be harmful to anyone over time – a big reason why addressing indoor air quality should be a part of your personal health strategy.
So how do you improve your indoor air quality this winter? Here are some tips:
- Keep your floors clean – Vacuum carpets with a HEPA filter once a week, and mop hard floors frequently with white vinegar and water. Also: shoes can carry dangerous bacteria and toxins into your home – leave them at the door!
- Choose better cleaners – or make your own – Choose “green” cleaning products when they’re available. Better yet, make your own – vinegar and baking soda are great natural cleaning agents that cut grease, clean drains, kill germs, and more.
- Skip the smelly stuff – Avoid fragrant sprays, chemical air fresheners, and scented candles, which contain toxic odorants. Instead, use essential oils like lavender and lemon grass with a diffuser. If you use candles, choose soy or beeswax-based varieties scented only with pure essential oils.
- Keep humidity at healthy levels – Over-dry winter air can irritate the skin, increase allergic and asthma sensitivity and even damage your furniture and electronics. Try to keep indoor humidity in the 30 to 60 percent range. A great way to do that? Install a whole-house humidifier.
- Maintain good airflow – Ventilation is an often-overlooked key to air quality. Once a week, open windows and turn on fans to freshen the air in your home and let out some pollutants that may have accumulated.
- Add plants – Plants are natural air purifiers that suck toxic chemicals through their leaves. Plant roots and soil bacteria also remove trace levels of toxic vapors. They look great, too!
- Choose better home improvement materials – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from paint and construction materials can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment. Most quality hardware stores offer low-VOC products – ask for them.
- Get professional annual HVAC maintenance – Routine maintenance of your HVAC equipment will help keep air contaminants from building and circulating in your northern NJ home. Check your HVAC air filters once per month, cleaning or changing them when necessary. Consider having your ducts cleaned, too.
- Invest in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) solutions – A whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier will keep air at healthy moisture levels to discourage mold and mildew growth, while a whole-house air purifier will remove most allergens and irritants.
Breathe easier this winter with indoor air quality solutions and expert HVAC maintenance from Bolkema Fuels. Contact us today to get a FREE, no-obligation estimate on indoor air quality equipment installations in your northern New Jersey home!