Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality During the Winter Months
Keeping your indoor air clean and fresh during the cold and sometimes harsh winter months can be challenging. This is especially true if there are weeks at a time of inclement weather. However, the importance of keeping the indoor air clean cannot be overstated.
According to Mount Sinai's medical director of respiratory care, Dr. E. Neil Schacter, individuals who live in a home with chronically poor air quality are likely to experience long-lasting colds, frequent headaches, chronic asthma, and bronchitis. While regular AC maintenance can help ensure good air quality, it is often not enough.
Sometimes referred to as "sick home syndrome," poor indoor air quality can exacerbate or cause illness. Unhealthy air can be attributed to many factors, including fireplaces, dryers, solvents, paint, air fresheners, and cleaning and carpeting products. Other times, it can also be caused by molds, leads, pesticides, and furs and feathers.
Here's what you need to keep in mind to keep your indoor air quality healthy.
Make use of living plants
Placing living plants indoors is a safe and foolproof way to clean and purify the air inside. Great indoor plants you can look into include areca, lady, bamboo, dracaena, peace lily, aloe vera, spider plant, dwarf date, and snake plant. Ensure you use fresh and organic potting soil to keep the indoor plants healthy.
Researchers from the NASA Clean Air Study recommend placing one plant per 100 square feet of the office or home for excellent air quality. Other research also indicates that microorganisms found in potting soil can help remove benzene from the air.
Invest in air purifiers
Air purifiers are designed to improve the air quality indoors by removing odors, harmful particles, and allergens. Purified air is especially beneficial for people suffering from allergies, asthma, and pollutant and chemical sensitivities.
Ideally, it is recommended that air purifiers are placed in the bedrooms and the primary living areas. An excellent home purifier should be able to cover at least 600 square feet of living space. Also, your chosen filter should include the following:
- A dust collection grid that can effectively trap pollutants and particles like a magnet.
- An activated carbon filter that traps odors, gases, and chemicals.
- A high-efficiency HEPA filter that can capture both allergens and dust.
- A germicidal UV lamp that kills microorganisms.
- A negative ion air cleaner that can help produce clean air.
- A sensor technology that monitors the indoor air quality.
- A photocatalytic oxidation filter (Ti02) that effectively reduces odors, bacteria, and chemicals.
Consider airing out your home
When the weather allows, open a window. Free and easy, opening a window is also one of the most effective ways to force the old air out and let the fresh air in. You can also look into using trickle ventilation, a 10-inch high screen with extra filters.
Grow herbs on your window sills
Mint, thyme, and basil are excellent herbs you can grow on your window sill. Naturally fragrant, these herbs will not only help clean your indoor air; it can also add a decorative touch to your windowsill.
Keep humidity in check
When the air is overly humid, your home can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mildew, and molds. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor humidity is kept within the 30 to 60 percent range.
The right amount of humidity in the air can also help ensure that mold, dust mites, and mildew are controlled. Depending on the air's dryness, you can use a humidifier and dehumidifier to achieve the right humidity range.
Improving indoor air quality can go a long way towards ensuring you and your family are healthier. It would also be a great idea to invest in a home air quality expert's help so you will enjoy fresh and clean air indoors the whole year-round.
Sara Olsen is the Content Marketing Manager of Emergency Air, Arizona’s premier HVAC repair and service company with NATE-certified technicians and the best HVAC service in the quickest time. When not writing articles, she makes the most of her time with her family and giving back to the community.