Minnesota’s cold winter months mean spending more time inside the warmth and comfort of our home. In our last blog, we discussed how to maximize HVAC system efficiency and minimize utility bills. However, it’s important to keep the air in our homes clean as well as cozy. Here are six ways to improve indoor air quality during winter.
Prevent dust, mold spores, and other irritants from building up around the home. Plan to dust hard surfaces and vacuum (using a HEPA filter in the vacuum, if possible) at least once a week. Be sure to clean any accumulated debris from air vents and registers so it doesn’t get blown into the air and circulated around the home.
Even with regular dusting/cleaning of the vents and registers, dust, dirt, and debris will inevitably find their way into your HVAC system. Use these maintenance reminders to reduce their impact on your system and IAQ.
A clean air filter is crucial to the efficiency, performance, and longevity of your HVAC system. They prevent dust, dirt, and other debris from reaching the furnace and causing issues, so be sure to clean or replace the filter monthly.
While air vents/registers and air filters are easy to access and clean (or change), remember that debris also accumulates inside your ductwork over time. Routine cleaning and maintenance not only help reduce the presence of these airborne irritants, they also can extend your HVAC system’s useful life and provide some cost savings. Schedule professional duct cleaning service, and plan to do so at least every three to five years.
Routine maintenance from an HVAC professional ensures your system runs with optimal efficiency, safety, and performance. The technician can also catch and repair any issues before they become major problems down the road.
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Humidity plays a crucial role in air quality, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should be kept between 30 to 50 percent. Cold air holds less moisture, so increasing humidity in the winter will help the air feel warmer as well as maintain IAQ. Consider installing a whole house humidifier to enjoy warmer, cleaner air during heating season.
While sealing the home helps trap warm air in and cold air out, it also makes it difficult to provide ventilation. Opening windows and turning on fans once a week may be a good idea, but we all know that’s not always realistic where we live. Air exchangers boost IAQ by managing humidity levels and removing stale, dirty air while simultaneously providing fresh, filtered air from outside.
According to the EPA, indoor concentrations of some pollutants are 2-5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Consider these additional IAQ solutions to provide clean, healthy air in your home:
We may already be into the second month of the year, but there are still plenty of cold days to spend inside ahead of us. Use these tips for maintaining indoor air quality during winter to keep your home’s atmosphere clean, warm, and healthy this heating season and in the future.