During the winter months, when it is colder outside, the indoor air quality from our heating and air conditioning units inside our homes can suffer immensely. The reason air quality degrades is that our homes are sealed up to keep warm air in and cold air out. There are many underlying causes which contribute to poorer indoor air quality in winter, including:
- Reduced Humidity Levels: Lower humidity levels means drier indoor air. As the air dries out, it not only increases the occurrence of other contributors but also lowers our immunity systems to fight illnesses.
- Dust: Higher levels of dust are common in homes during the winter months since there is less humidity.
- Dust Mites: Dust mites feast on dead skin cells. We tend to shed more of these in winter, as our skin is drier from reduced humidity, so dust mite populations can soar.
- Pet Dander: Pet skin also dries out and causes an increase in pet dander and helps increase dust mite populations.
- Pet Hair: Pets tend to grow thicker coats in the winter, which results in more shedding.
- Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew can be a problem in the bathroom during the winter, as humidity levels are much higher after showering or bathing.
- Bacteria and Viruses: Bacteria and viruses survive much longer when there are lower humidity levels inside the home.
Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality in the Winter
There are several things we can do to help improve the indoor air quality inside our homes in the winter. Many of these things you probably already do, but you just may need to increase the frequency you do them.
- Inspect your air filter monthly and change it as needed. Dirty air filters cannot filter out contaminants from the air, so they are left circulating around the home.
- Have your furnace installation technician install a whole-home humidifier. Increasing humidity levels inside the home in winter not only improves air quality but also reduces the spread of wintertime illnesses.
- Clean, dust, vacuum, and mop your home weekly. Reducing and eliminating dust mites, dust, pet dander, mold, mildew, and pet hair helps improve indoor air quality.
- Wash your bedding and your pet’s bedding weekly. Clean sheets and pet bedding mean fewer dust mites since there are fewer dead skin cells and less pet dander.
- Vacuum your mattress, sofa, and other cushioned furniture every other week. Dust mites cannot be prevented but can be controlled by eliminating dead skin cells from the places we sit and sleep.
- Brush or wash your pets weekly. This task helps reduce shedding and keeps pet hair from getting everywhere inside your home.
Tips to Improve the Air Quality of Your Heating System
Aside from changing inspecting and changing air filters, you might want to consider getting a better quality filter. Talk to your furnace installation and repair technician to find out which filter would be best for your system. If dust is a problem in your home, you may want to also inquire about having your ducts cleaned and sealed.
Additionally, schedule a tune-up of your furnace if you have not had one done this winter. For furnace repairs and tune-ups and other services to improve the indoor air quality inside your home, please feel free to call A+ Services at 360-491-2900 today! We service the Olympia, Thurston, and Pierce County areas.