Often, we tend to enclose ourselves in homes during winter. It may feel toasty and cozy being inside the house with closed windows. However, for some people, especially those with respiratory problems or sensitive to indoor allergens, winter can worsen their problems. Musty indoor air can increase allergy-inducing dust mites, mold spores, and pet danger circulating through the house. Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, an associate professor of otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School says, “Most of the things that cause problems are odorless.” In most cases, there is nothing that can alert you of the indoor air quality problem other than the symptoms of allergens such as asthma flare-ups, sleepiness, fatigue, and digestive issues.
The reason indoor air quality worsens in the winter months is that often there is no flow of fresh air from outside. So allergens are strapped inside. Now you know a thing or two about indoor air quality, here are ways to improve it.
Keep Things Clean
Making an effort to enhance indoor air quality may help prevent asthma flare-ups and symptoms of allergy. You may not eliminate all the allergens in the house; however, you can reduce some and even your exposure to the particles. A clean home means a healthier place since good indoor air hygiene cuts down the number of animal dander and dust. Focus on reducing the accumulation of mold, pet dander, and dust lurking in the home. Vacuum your carpets as well as area rugs once or twice a week using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Also, regularly clean the drapes, bedding, and other surfaces or items that tend to attract allergens—additionally, clean clutter as it traps and holds dusk, another allergen trigger.
Keep Greenery Outdoors
You have often been told to keep indoor plants in your house because they improve air quality. Yes, they release oxygen, but they are allergy triggers. Indoor plants create more problems compared to how they help. They tend to collect and encourage mold growth. Therefore, if indoor allergens are an issue, avoid them by keeping plants away.
It’s important you change the filters of your forced-air heating system regularly. Electrostatic filters help ensure airborne irritants such as dust are trapped rather than being recirculated inside the house. Besides, get the ducts cleaned to help remove trapped dust. The Environmental Protection Agency provides advice on how and when to clean ducts.
Install an Air Purifier
It may help fit an air purifier if you are allergic to allergens and cannot control their source. For instance, if you cannot do away with family pets, it helps if you have an air purifier. Place the purifier in commonly used areas of your house. The purifiers help capture irritants that could trigger allergy symptoms. Purifiers may not entirely remove the allergens, but they reduce their number.
In damp areas like the basement, you may want to install a dehumidifier to help prevent mold growth. Ensure the bathrooms are other potential sources of mold are properly ventilated. Scrub off any noticeable mold collecting on fixtures, walls, and showers.
Allow Fresh Air In
While you may want to be warm during colder months by keeping the windows closed, you should open the windows occasionally to let fresh air. Again, use fans to move potential air contaminants outside the house, especially in the kitchen where you have cooking fumes.
These are some of the ways you can improve indoor air quality in your home. Indoor Air Quality Associates performs indoor air quality assessments as well as tests while also offering products to help improve air quality.