How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Winter
Imagine someone held up two seemingly identical photos of your home.
To the naked eye, there is no difference, but in fact, in one instance the air quality is poor, while in the other, it’s top-notch. What are the building blocks of a home with optimal air quality?
As we move into winter, we answer this important question, showing you preventive measures, quick fixes and more significant investment options so you and your loved ones can breathe easy.
Avoid chemical-laden products
Ensure that the household cleaners you purchase are fragrance-free. Avoid purchasing plug-in air fresheners as they may contain phthalates, which are correlated with hormone disruption. In addition, many fragrances are made with petroleum, the effects of which have not been tested on humans when inhaled.
Clean more often
In the winter, it becomes more important to keep your home clean, as you, your family and your pets spend more time indoors. If you have pets, vacuum twice a week, as dander can get locked into the carpet and irritate your family or guests, especially those already suffering from asthma or allergies.
Making a chore chart or a chore wheel can lighten everyone’s load and be a teaching moment to help kids or even adults learn to do things they’ve never done before.
Maintain your fire sources
If you have a fireplace, ensure you’re maintaining it as needed, as the smoke and soot can hinder the air quality inside your home.
Open a Window
It’s as simple as that. Open a window on warmer, less-windy days to get some air flow percolating.
DIY Humidity Control
There’s a certain sweet spot that your home should be at, in terms of humidity. Keeping indoor humidity at the 30 to 60 percent range is best. Using a humidifier and dehumidifier as needed will help you achieve this balance and a hygrometer can be used for measurement.
This may surprise you, but essential oils don’t just smell lovely, they can be utilized to freshen indoor air too! Lavender, Peppermint, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ginger and even Cilantro can be turned into a safe room spray. Simply add 12 drops of the oil to half a cup of vinegar and one and a half cups of water. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle, shake well, and spray!
It’s recommended that you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as these filters act as a sieve for the vast majority of particles, and ensure the dust being picked up is not rereleased into the air.
Plants are aesthetically pleasing and offer the side benefit of reducing formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins in the air. Be wary of buying a plant that’s toxic for furry creatures, such as any on this list. Experts suggest that proper air cleaning can happen with one or more plants per 100 square feet of home space.
Air purifiers are the most significant expense on this list but a worthwhile investment. They remove allergens, dangerous particles and odors. Asthma and allergy-prone people will especially notice the difference if you have one or more in your home. It’s recommended to have one in each bedroom as well as in the main living areas. Most purifiers can work effectively for 600 square feet of space. This guide from Consumer Reports is a good way to get you started as you research your options. Switching insurance providers could help you save on car insurance, which you could use for this expense. Get a quote to see how much you could be saving.