Once you step outside your front door you relinquish all control over the quality of the air you breathe. Since many of us spend between 10 and 14 hours a day at home, it pays to make your indoor air as clean and healthy as possible. Here are five simple steps you can take to improve the quality of the air inside your home this winter, and all year round.
1. Clean smarter not harder.
Dust, dander and other particles are present throughout your home on every available surface. When cleaning adhere to the following tips:
Start at the top and work your way down, dusting with a microfiber or electrostatic cloth which trap dust rather than stir it up.
Vacuum using a machine with a high quality filter that can trap minute particles and prevent them from reentering the air.
Keep the bottom of your closets picked up and cleaned; a large percentage of the dust in your home comes from clothing fibers.
2. Keep an eye on humidity levels.
High levels of humidity can encourage mold growth, and levels that are too low create static electricity which traps dust. Aim for a reading of between 25 and 45 percent humidity, measurable with an inexpensive hygrometer available at most home hardware stores.
3. Change your filter.
Perform regular filter changes on your HVAC appliances such as your furnace, heat pump, A/C or humidifier. A dirty filter is unable to trap contaminants, allowing them to recirculate.
Don’t provide a place for dust to gather or hide. Reduce the clutter in your home by packing up knick knacks and books and donating them to charity or having a garage sale. You will be more likely to keep up with cleaning if your home is a clean slate.
5. Clean your ducts.
Ductwork can harbor years worth of dirt, dust and debris, which can be distributed throughout your home along with your conditioned air. Mold or mildew may be a concern as well, particularly in humid climates or homes that are poorly insulated. Call your local HVAC contractor and have them regularly inspect and clean your ducts.
Taking these and other steps can help improve your indoor air quality and allow you and your family to breathe easier.