The holiday season is coming up, which means winter is also on its way. The cold season can significantly affect your indoor air, so it is important to understand these effects to make sure you can prepare the necessary adjustments to improve your air quality indoors.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to major issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning, humidity concerns, and health problems due to allergies or respiratory complications. To make sure that you avoid these problems, here are a few winter-driven factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality and what you can do to help lessen or eliminate the risks altogether:
Winter Storms Bring a Lot of Dust and Dirt Particles
During a winter storm, ice crystals form around small bits of dust and dirt that have been carried up by the wind. These ice particles can dirty up your heating and cooling systems at home, and can also clog them if left uncleaned. Clogged air filters can ruin your HVAC system and compromise indoor air quality.
To check if there is a considerable amount of dust and dirt inside your home already, you can try to shine a flashlight inside a dark room in the house. If the flashlight’s beam reveals a flurry of particles floating in the air, it’s a surefire indication that you need to start cleaning up.
Cleaning the house up is a simple but extremely effective way to maintain your HVAC system and keep your house safe from health risks. Simply wipe dusty surfaces and use cleaning agents if necessary to get rid of stains and dirt buildup. The vents and grills of your heating system should also be cleaned with a damp piece of cloth to prevent dirt particles from settling together.
You might want to check your air filter as well, since it should regularly be monitored and replaced every month or two. The air filter is an essential part of your HVAC system because it blocks off the dirt particles in the air that you won’t be able to clean up yourself even with a vacuum cleaner. If your air filter is left dirty, it will eventually get clogged and cause a system breakdown. A malfunctioning air filter can be a health risk in itself because it will start to recirculate dirt particles into the air instead of blocking them, increasing your chances of inhaling them.
Winter is a Time of Increased Insulation
When the temperatures start to drop during the winter season, homeowners notice air leaks and drafts around the house better because of the cool air. To keep the house warm, many people perform additional insulation tasks to get more comfortable while also potentially decreasing heating bills.
Unfortunately, improving insulation in your home can also decrease indoor air quality. By sealing off your house more than you should, you are also trapping inside potential contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, dust mites and mold spores. These contaminants can easily cause sickness around the house especially if any family members don’t have optimum health.
The longer indoor air is trapped, the more contaminated it can get, which doesn’t bode well for families who prefer to stay inside for the entire winter season. If a house is overly insulated, not only will contaminants be trapped inside, but fresh air will also not be able to get in from the outside, resulting in a more polluted indoor environment.
Leaving a window open isn’t a viable option especially in winter, but luckily there are smarter ways to insulate your house while still maintaining proper ventilation. You can install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to make sure fresh air still gets into your home without compromising your insulation improvements. Energy recovery ventilators (ERV) offer the same benefits albeit with a little moisture as bonus.
Winter Can Cause People to Smoke Indoors
Smoking outdoors isn’t entirely feasible during the winter season, which is why a lot of smokers are tempted to smoke indoors instead. Unfortunately, smoking indoors is a worse idea. The smoke lingers for a long time even after the person is done smoking, exposing other people inside the house to secondhand smoke (which does more harm healthwise).
Smoke is generally a bad sign inside the house, since it can also come from your heating system. Contaminants like carbon monoxide can easily come from a faulty furnace, and can be lethal if the exposure is significant enough. To avoid any gas-related accidents in your home, make sure to schedule your heater for a professional inspection before winter arrives.
A Final Word on Improving Indoor Air Quality During Winter
It’s important to maintain a good quality of indoor air especially during winter when going out isn’t much of an option. To make sure that your HVAC system is working properly, don’t hesitate to contact professional services to check and maintain your system for you.
If you’re looking for a reputable company to help you with your HVAC concerns, you can contact All Year Sacramento. All Year is the best business in the Sacramento area for all services concerned with air conditioning and heating, and can definitely provide you with outstanding assistance at the most competitive rates.