We’re getting our first real cold streak this week. We won’t be able to open the windows for fresh air for awhile, barring a very late Indian Summer. We’ll all be breathing more indoor air than ever in the coming months. This is a good time to focus on cleaning up the quality of the indoor air in your home.
There are a number of methods to improve indoor air quality for your family. Start with basic things like routine cleaning and housekeeping to rid the house of dust and dirt built up from having the windows open. On the opposite end of the scale you might consider adding air filtration systems to your home to do a better job of filtering the air. The ideal combination probably falls somewhere between these extremes and depends on whether you have pets, how sealed your house is (tight weatherstripping) and whether any of your family members have allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues.
Consider the following items that you can take care of now before winter is in full swing:
Vacuum Your Heating Registers and Cold Air Returns. All of the air circulated by your home’s HVAC system blows through these vents. Removing the dust and dirt prevents the blower on your system from spreading the “good cheer.”
Dust Your Ceiling Fan Blades. Clean the blades to get rid of a source of dirt and dust that can aggravate even the most minor breathing issues. The big box stores have special dusters that make it easy to take care of this job quickly.
Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction. Don’t forget – reverse the direction of your ceiling fan so the warm air hovering at the ceiling gets pulled back down to human level. This relatively easy change can help with your energy bills as well by helping regulate temperatures in your home.
Consider Professional Duct Cleaning Service. Dust and dirt can accumulate in the ductwork of your home, especially in the early fall when you’re not running the AC any more, and before you start using the furnace. A thorough duct cleaning will clean deep in the dark cracks and crevices, removing that dust. If appropriate, we’ll also treat with special disinfectants and dust repellants that help it stay clean longer.
Replace Furnace Filters. This is something you should be doing about every 2-3 months, but it’s especially important in the late fall. When the built up dust in your ductwork begins to circulate when the furnace fires up for the first time, the filter may become clogged. Also, during the winter, pets and people start to shed more skin cells and fur causing filters to clog faster.
Turn Your Furnace Fan “On”. Instead of leaving the furnace setting on “auto” turn the fan on to circulate the air and push the dust and dirt through the filters. You should see an improvement in the cleanliness of the air, but the trade off is in slightly higher electric bills.
Install a High-Quality Air Filtration System. Professional installation of a filtration system requires an investment, but can pay great dividends in the air quality for family members who have allergies or asthma. These systems are add-ons to your existing HVAC system and filter out microscopic particles that would otherwise circulate in your home’s air. They may also contribute to longevity of your HVAC system by allowing less contaminated air to circulate through the system.
UV Light Disinfection System. An ultraviolet disinfection system installed in strategic locations throughout the ductwork in your home help clean the air of toxic gases, germs, bacteria and viruses using low-voltage UV light.
Follow these steps to get your home ready for a long cold winter indoors, and you (and your family) won’t regret it!