As the weather gets colder, you may find yourself closing up all the windows and turning on the heater to keep the home comfortable. However, this is also the season for the sniffles, colds and flu-like symptoms. While you may associate this with normal winter illnesses, you actually may be suffering from symptoms caused by poor indoor air quality. Know The Causes Contaminants that include paint odor particles, volatile organic compounds, pet dander and radon can all accumulate inside the home. If there is no way for those contaminants to escape, they can accumulate to the point where you may physically feel ill. One indication that poor indoor air quality is the cause of illness symptoms is if they disappear when you leave your home. If your symptoms only seem to stick around while you’re at home, it might be time to look into what’s causing it.
Keep Your Home Clean Contaminant particles and dust often coat the surfaces inside the home. Using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter can help suck up the particles that accumulate in the carpet. Mopping and wiping down hard surfaces regularly can help to remove allergens and other contaminants that can make you feel ill. Putting a floor mat outside the front door can even prevent guests from bringing pollen and other allergens in on their shoes.
Maintain Your Heater As you use your air conditioning and heater, the air within your home is being recirculated in addition to being heated or cooled. Near the HVAC system, a filter catches bigger particles and prevents them from getting into the air. Over time, those filters become clogged and contaminants can escape. Filters should be replaced or cleaned every single month.
Remove Sources of Contamination Removing the sources of contamination is the best thing you can do to avoid poor indoor air quality. For example, replacing wood windows that may have been painted with lead-based paint with vinyl replacement windows can instantly improve air quality. When repainting or redecorating, avoid using materials that have strong odors or ensure that there is adequate ventilation. Avoid smoking indoors as smoke particles can accumulate and affect even those who do not smoke. Finally, be sure that your home has been tested for radon. By following these simple steps and being vigilant about what comes into your home, you can improve your health, your family’s health, and even the wellness of your guests!