As the weather gets cold, people close up their homes to keep the heat inside. While this can keep your temperature more comfortable, it also may lead to a decrease in your indoor air quality as allergens, dust, and dander accumulate. Let’s explore some of the easiest, tried-and-true ways to improve indoor air quality.
1. Improving Indoor Air Quality by Cleaning
One of the simplest steps for improving indoor air quality is to clean the house regularly. Invest in a good vacuum with a HEPA filter and use it on all carpeted areas at least once a week. Thoroughly clean upholstered furniture twice a year, or more often if you have pets. Use microfiber cloths to dust surfaces, and reduce clutter as much as possible. By clearing out places where dust and dander can accumulate, you’ll reduce the number of allergens that are released back into the air when items are moved. Wash bedding and curtains frequently. Invest in dust mite-proof bedding covers that are easily washable. Make regular cleaning a habit, even if your home already appears to be visually clean. Allergens, dust mites, and mold spores are too small to be seen and can trigger respiratory reactions even in small amounts. Make your own cleaning supplies instead of purchasing commercial products that contain chemicals and VOCs.
2. Pay Attention to Houseplants
An effective way to improve indoor air quality is to take proper care of indoor plants. While it is commonly believed that plants filter out pollutants from indoor air, they also provide areas for dust to accumulate and mold to grow. Overwatered houseplants often grow mold in the soil, so only water them as much as they need.
3. Clean Up Your HVAC System
One of the quickest ways to give your indoor air quality a boost is to change the filters in your forced-air system. Set a reminder to do this at least every 3 months or as often as the manufacturer recommends. HEPA filters are the most effective type to improve indoor air quality, but they need to be replaced more frequently.
4. Improve Indoor Air Quality With an Air Purifier
When you cannot control the allergens entering your home, because of pets, construction, or other factors, air purifiers may be necessary. Set them up in high traffic areas of your home and in bedrooms. Air purifiers are designed to clean the air in specific square footage, so measure the room you intend to use it in before buying one.
5. Monitor the Humidity
Mold is one of the most common indoor air pollutants, and it grows well in damp areas. Using a dehumidifier in your home, especially if your basement tends to be damp or you live in areas of high humidity, can help reduce this common irritant. Make sure that your bathrooms have effective ventilation systems. Clean sinks, tubs, and showers often to prevent mold growth. When remodeling a bathroom or basement, consider using mold-resistant paint.
6. Let Fresh Air In to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Whenever possible, let in the fresh air. Even when it is cold outside, opening windows and doors for short periods will allow fresh air to circulate throughout your home. Make it a habit to get fresh air into your home several times a week throughout the cooler months.