Breathe Naturally - October 23, 2023
Improving Home Air Quality In the Winter
Air Quality in the winter
The winter months can be absolutely brutal. Whether you're snowed in for the season or just have to break out the jacket, its undeniable that the winter months force us to spend more time inside.
The last thing you need to worry about is harmful airborne particles floating about, just waiting to make you sick. The good news is improving your indoor air during the winter is a straightforward task and can be completed in an afternoon.
TLDR : How to improve Home Air Quality In the Winter
Improving air quality in the winter is a cumulative process that can be as simple as installing an air purifier, or as extreme as thoroughly spot cleaning your home to rid it of mold, dust, and other harmful particles. Your first step should always be to determine the source of the bad air.
What causes bad indoor air quality in the the winter?
Due to years of freezing our butts off, scientists have been hard at work improving the quality of life within our homes durring the winter. One of the benefits of that hard work has been the advancements in home heating via insulation and better windows.
However because of this advancement, less air is leaking out of your home and thus the air quality in your space becomes a contained breeding ground for dust, mold, and bacteria of all kinds.
Bad air quality in your home, such as an increase of airborne bacteria, mold spores, and dust can cause both short term and long term health problems. Long term exposure can even cause serious health problems.
Winters track more snow and dirt into the house allowing mold and bacteria to have just the right ingredients to grow at a rapid pace.
Combined with an increase in time spent indoors because of the lowered temperatures, provides just the right ingredients to allow for harmful airborne particles to multiply and cause respiratory discomfort and those annoying common colds.
Even just a runny nose or a cough can mean the difference between a productive week or a "struggle to get through it" week. Missed work for sick days or lowered productivity not only results in money lost, but no one wants to feel terrible all day long over something as simple as air quality.
So how can one keep their home or office circulating fresh air all winter long and keep those nasty/harmful airborne particles at bay?
How to improve indoor air quality in the winter
Vacuum/Sweep/Dust - Clean Those Floors!
Dirt, crumbs and dirty spaces are at the root of almost all poor indoor air environments. Eliminating these particles at the source, whether it be vacuuming or sweeping, dusting or moping, or any other cleaning method, removing dirt and grime from your space will go a long way to cleaning up the air.
Be sure to spend extra time on the entry points in your home, as the winter months bring in wet snow, dirt, and salt which are dirty, stinky particles you want to get rid of right away.
Install an Air Purifier
The fastest, and arguably most effective way to remove airborne particles and dust, is to install a quality air purifier. Depending on the size of the room and size of the purifier, keeping an area clean and smelling fresh can be as simple as installing a small air purifier.
Most purifiers circulate air 5 times per hour, meaning every breath you take has passed through a quality filter multiple times before entering your lungs.
The best air purifiers run smoothly and efficiently with MERV 17 rated HEPA filters that stop, dust, mold spores, allergens, bacteria and tons more.
Clean your Ducts!
Over the summer your air ducts fill with dirt and dust and sometimes can become clogged and restrict air flow. Taking the time at the beginning of the winter season and making sure your air ducts are clean and unrestricted will ensure you're not going to have any health problems due to spending more time indoors this winter.
Wash the Dishes!
Kitchen and bathroom odors can be nauseating to have to deal with when you come home from work. Taking time to clean out your sink, flush them toilets and make sure that purifier is running while you're gone, is the only sure-fire way to come home to a fresh house every day.
Increasing ventilation to areas with unwanted odors by cracking open a window or turning on a fan helps a surprising amount. Just don't leave the windows open too long or you may wake up to a chilly house.
Install a Humidifier
Finally, the winter months can get quite dry, despite the endless abyss of frozen water littered everywhere you look. Installing a humidifier will help tremendously with all the troubles the cold and dry winter air brings with it. Some air purifiers even come with a humidifier feature however, in my experience having separate machines yields a better overall result.
How to increase indoor air quality in the summer?
Increasing air quality in the summer is a lot like increasing the air quality in the winter, however now you have the added benefit of being able to open your windows to increase ventilation and improve air flow. Just be mindful that during levels of high pollen and air pollution its recommended you keep your windows closed and rely on the air conditioning or an air purifier to move air throughout your home.
Like always, installing an air purifier is a quick and easy way to ensure your home's air is being properly purified on a regular basis. An air purifier is a great way to reduce allergen levels in your home that can spike during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
The best air purifiers circulate an entire room's worth of air, 5 times per hour, making sure every breath you take is clean and fresh.
Making sure youre sweeping and vacuuming the floors on a regular basis will help keep bugs and mold spores from accumulating which goes a long way in keeping your home smelling fresh.
Are electric heaters bad for your health?
Electric heaters and blankets don't pose an immediate threat to your health or your air quality. Heaters use electricity to heat up nichrome wire components, better known as heating coils. Air is then blown past these coils, in the case of an electric heater, and thus warmer air is released into the area, nothing about that process is harmful.
Just be mindful of the space around your heaters and the amount of time you run them for. Improper or overuse can lead to fires, which are harmful to your health.
Also, be careful around wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. These heaters can release harmful particles back into the air, that when ingested in large quantities, may pose health risks.
What are common indoor air pollutants?
Indoor air pollutants can be colorless, odorless particles that cause a wide variety of health problems if not properly taken care of. Some of the most common of these airborne pollutants are:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Secondhand Smoke
- Lead Particles
The good news is, if taken care of promptly, most particles don't pose harmful health effects from short term exposure.
Using an air purifier and doing some regular sweeping, dusting and ventilating of your area should go a long way towards reducing the levels of these indoor air pollutants.