Don’t Let Your Indoor Air Quality Suffer This Winter in Your Airtight Home
If you’re like most homeowners today, you’ve probably taken steps to lower energy use in your home. One of those steps likely included air sealing to ensure conditioned air stays in and the weather stays out. While this is certainly an effective way to reduce monthly expenses, a home that’s well sealed can degrade indoor air quality (IAQ) by locking more pollutants in. Before air sealing became so popular, fresh breathing air had better access inside through those small holes and cracks in a home’s shell. IAQ in winter can become an even bigger problem, when you likely work extra hard to keep the cold weather out. The following steps are relatively simple and inexpensive ways to improve IAQ in winter:
- Use household cleaners that aren’t made with harmful chemicals. You can find such products in most grocery stores, and they’re typically labeled as being environmentally safe products. You can also use a damp cloth to dust some areas.
- Avoid having cigarette smoke anywhere near your home.
- Choose furniture, carpeting and textiles that aren’t made with harmful chemicals when you need to upgrade.
Isolating Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality
- Store products that are made with pollutants in your garage or an outdoor storage shed.
- Have a professional line the floor of basements and crawl spaces with plastics covers to keep radon from coming into your home.
- Hire a professional to check that natural gas appliances like the furnace and water heater are properly vented to the outdoors.
- Consider purchasing sealed combustion units when buying new appliances.
Ventilating to Keep the Air Flowing
- Let in fresh air by opening windows whenever the weather allows it.
- Use a mechanical ventilation device to help ensure proper circulation of the air throughout your home.
- Ask a qualified HVAC contractor to help you figure out the best kind of ventilation system for your household’s needs.