Ways to Increase Indoor Air Quality During the Winter Months
Health| | By DEF Contributor
There are plenty of reasons to enjoy the winter season, like pulling out your favorite sweater from storage, or hearing the crackle of the fireplace, but it comes with challenges too. People might feel cramped up inside after a while and suspect that their home feels stuffier than usual. With the windows and doors shut, air quality in the home can drastically decrease. But we have helpful home hacks proven to increase indoor air quality.
Read on to learn ways to increase indoor air quality during the winter months. These are easy tips anyone can use in their home, so you’ll stay healthy while you wait for spring to arrive.
When you’re heading outside to go swimming or travel to the beach in the summer, you’re not spending much time indoors. It’s natural not to notice dust in a space you’re rarely in, but it quickly collects all over your home when you’re indoors for the winter.
Dust can aggravate your sinuses, so clean your home thoroughly during the colder months. Wipe down countertops, blinds, appliances and ceiling fan blades. Whether you spray a paper towel or use a cleaning rag, you’ll eliminate the dust your family breathes and create cleaner air for everyone.
2. Replace Your Air Filters
If you live in a rental unit, your maintenance team most likely replaces your air filters for free. Even if they do, you should replace air filters every two months. When they go longer than that without a replacement, they’ll become clogged and force your HVAC unit to run overtime to push more air through.
You can also consider upgrading the filters you use. After you ensure the new filters are the right size, check the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. It explains how many kinds of particles the filter traps, assigning it a number between 1-20. The higher the MERV rating, the cleaner your air.
3. Inspect Your Air Ducts
Dust settles in air ducts like in any other place in your home. Consider calling a professional to come out and inspect them so they don’t push unseen amounts of extra dust around your living space.
4. Ventilate Your Home
You’re not crazy for feeling like your home is stuffier during the winter than summer. You’re less likely to keep doors or windows open for very long when it’s cold outside, which limits how much fresh air comes in. If you notice a strong odor when you walk in your home or find mold on walls, ventilate your home by allowing more fresh air in, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time.
5. Wipe Down Windows
When was the last time you wiped down your windows? Check around the windowsill to inspect for mold. Poor ventilation increases your interior window condensation, which causes more mold growth around the glass. When there’s mold in your home, you may exhibit common allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing and congestion. Scrub it away with a strong cleaning solution to prevent illness in your home.
6. Take Your Shoes Off
Winter weather is often wet. Your shoes collect snow, mud and slush that you end up tracking into your home. The mess introduces new pollutants, especially if you wear your shoes throughout each room. Take your shoes off by the front door to limit what contaminants lay in your rugs and carpet fibers.
7. Grow Indoor House Plants
Gardening may not be something you imagine yourself doing during the winter, but a few indoor house plants could transform your air quality. Consider adopting a spider plant, since they’re known as a natural filter because they capture pollutants such as benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene. Keep one in indirect sunlight and it will thrive.
8. Bathe and Brush Your Pets
How often do you bathe your pets? If you bathe and brush them every two weeks, you’ll wash away loose hair and dander that would otherwise contaminate the air. Clean them when you can and toss out any hair in their brush afterward.
You can fight the flu this year when you diffuse antibacterial essential oils like tea tree, peppermint or eucalyptus oil. Before you plug in your diffuser, remember to avoid using it around pets to prevent respiratory and liver problems.
Try Something New
When your home starts to feel stuffy this winter, try something new. These tips will help you purify the air in your home so you can enjoy the winter months while they last. Love these home health tips? Be sure to SHARE these tips to increase indoor air quality with your friends on social media!
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, Hotel Online, SevenRooms, Point 2 Home and more!