With winter officially arriving on December 21st, the cold months ahead of us can have a direct affect on your indoor air quality. During the winter months we spend more time indoors, so thinking about your indoor environment and the air you breathe can have a huge effect on your health and wellness.
In the winter we generally have our doors and windows closed, and as homeowners become more conscious about air leaks, gaps, and drafts, homes are updated or installed to be air tight and sealed from the outdoor environment. This is usually a great thing – in the winter, you don’t want to have all your warm air escaping outside, as it decreases the efficiency of your home while adding unnecessary dollars to your heating bill. But insulating your home can affect your indoor air quality if it’s not done right by trapping bacteria, dust, or VOCs inside. These things can make even healthy people feel ill, so it’s important to consider all the factors when increasing your home insulation.
All homes require balance between insulation (air tightness) and ventilation (air flow). If there’s not enough fresh air coming into your home, your air can become increasingly polluted by things brought indoors (like new furniture, dust and dirt on outdoor clothes or equipment), or applied (like paint or varnish). Two things that may affect your indoor air quality this winter are:
Dust and Dirt: Even the most meticulous homeowner will find dust and dirt hiding in their home, and it’s this unseen circulation of these small particles (which can often contain allergens) in your HVAC system that affect your indoor air quality. Your furnace should be equipped with an air filter, which is like a vacuum for your home’s air – remembering to change your air filters every 30-60 days as well as actively cleaning dusty or dirty surfaces will go a long way in helping maintain a healthy home.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): The chemicals that fall under the VOC label are one of the main things that can affect your indoor air quality this winter. Found in materials like paint, perfumes, cleaners, and other chemical substances, VOCs can be reduced through better air filtration, but also by choosing greener or scent-free products and ventilating a workspace thoroughly.
Improving your indoor air quality this winter and making sure harmful substances aren’t affecting you or your health doesn’t need to be an arduous task. Scheduling a professional to come and assess your home environment and your indoor air quality needs can have a huge effect on your comfort and health over the next few months. At SafeAir, we often recommend having your HVAC system maintained in the fall or spring for optimum performance, and can recommend air cleaners or purifiers to help in trouble areas – but each home is different, and may require different strategies. Get in touch with us at SafeAir for more information on the affect your indoor air quality will have on your health and comfort this winter!