Spring is the season that often gets the most attention when it comes to contaminants in the air. That’s because allergies tend to be the worst during spring when common allergens like pollen show up in high concentrations in the air outside. But as it turns out, the air in our homes can be just as bad during winter as it is during spring, and often times even worse. Today we’re going to talk about how the health of your home’s air is affected during winter and what you can do to ensure your home’s air is clean!
HOW IS THE HEALTH OF YOUR HOME’S AIR AFFECTED DURING WINTER?
During winter, we keep our homes as tightly sealed as possible in order to prevent cold outside air from getting indoors. Not only are our doors and windows shut more often during winter than any other time of the year, but many people also seal up air leaks with caulk and weatherstripping and cover entire windows with plastic insulation to prevent drafts.
Sealing up your home is great for saving energy and keeping out cold drafts, but it can also adversely affect the health of your home’s air. That’s because contaminants can build up in your home without any way to escape. Unlike spring and summer, when there are many more opportunities for indoor contaminants to escape outside, contaminants tend to get trapped indoors during winter and repeatedly cycled by your furnace.
WHAT KINDS OF CONTAMINANTS SHOW UP IN THE AIR DURING WINTER?
Some airborne contaminants can be found in your home’s air during any time of the year. Those include dust mites, pet dander, dirt, outdoor allergens and chemicals from cleaning products, personal hygiene products, paints and stains. During winter, certain contaminants show up more often than they do during other times of the year. Those include:
- Carbon monoxide from malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances or from idle
cars warming up in the garage.
- Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.
- Outdoor allergens caught in Christmas trees and wreaths.
- Viruses and bacteria brought in by family members with colds and flus.
- Low humidity levels due to less moisture in the air.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF YOUR HOME’S AIR DURING WINTER?
- Change your furnace filter. A standard furnace filter will remove a portion of the dust and allergens from your home’s air whenever your furnace is in a heating cycle. A clogged filter cannot effectively remove those contaminants, so changing your filter every month will help keep your air clean.
- Consider upgrading your filtration system. A whole house air cleaner like the RejuvenAir is designed specifically to remove contaminants of any size from your home’s air, and it is many times more effective than a standard filter. In fact, an air cleaner can remove up to 99 percent of the contaminants from your home’s air. If you’re serious about improving the health of your home’s air, a whole house air cleaner is your best option.
- Keep your house clean. By performing household cleaning tasks like dusting, vacuuming and washing your bedding every week, you can help remove dirt, dust mites and insect residue from their sources before they get caught up in your home’s airflow. If possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter so that the particles it sucks up don’t get tossed back into the air.
- Install low-level carbon monoxide detectors. Standard carbon monoxide detectors will warn you when there are dangerous levels of CO in your home’s air, but they won’t warn you while the gas is building up at smaller levels. Jerry Kelly offers low-level carbon monoxide detectors that will sound an alarm at much lower levels of CO in your air, which will help you identify a malfunctioning gas-burning appliance earlier.
- Install a whole-house humidifier. During winter, the air is much drier and humidity levels are low. This can make your home’s air uncomfortable and can prolong colds and flus. The best way to regulate your home’s humidity levels is to install a whole house humidifier with your furnace.
If you have any questions about home air health during winter, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles, MO, furnace installation and repair contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Dardenne Prairie, Des Peres and Frontenac, MO.