Winter is the time of year when your HVAC system is working at its peak. While it’s very important to make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible, it’s also important to maintain good indoor air quality during these cold months.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) measures the air quality in your home. It’s essential to ensure your home’s IAQ is good.
Breathing in poor-quality air can cause:
Maintaining a good IAQ during winter is important. When it’s cold outside, you’re trying to keep warm inside your home. As a result, you will be using more energy inside your home. That means more fumes, gasses, and particles can get trapped in the air you breathe.
So what do you do? First, ensure plenty of fresh air comes into your home through windows or vents. If there isn’t enough ventilation in your home already, consider getting a window fan or other ventilator to help circulate air around the house. Always ensure that any new additions or remodels keep airflow patterns the same so they don’t cause stale air to collect where it shouldn’t be!
How Do You Maintain Good IAQ?
Maintaining a good IAQ is easier than you think!
Here are some easy ways to make sure your home has clean air:
- Clean regularly: Regularly clean your vents and air filters to remove airborne particles that can cause allergies or other health issues.
- Use a humidifier: Humidifiers help keep the moisture level in your home and prevent dry skin or chapped lips from cold weather exposure.
- Avoid smoking inside: Smoking releases harmful chemicals into the air around you, which can make you sick if inhaled over time. Getting a proper air purification system for your home will help eliminate any lingering odors left behind by smokers and other pollutants like pet dander. These smells and irritants can easily accumulate over time, even if you don’t smoke inside on a regular basis!
How Do You Know If Your IAQ Is Bad?
The first way to tell if you have poor air quality is by looking at what’s going on with your heating system. If it’s not working properly, that could indicate poor IAQ. Also, if many people live in your house or apartment and everyone has symptoms like coughing or sneezing, that might also be due to poor IAQ.
Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?
Good indoor air quality is important for your health and the health of your family. However, maintaining a good IAQ in the winter season can be difficult because the temperature outside can be so low that it’s hard to stay warm inside. This means you might be tempted to turn up the heat. However, turning up the heat can dry out your home and make breathing harder. You also want to avoid using chemical-based disinfectants like bleach or ammonia when cleaning. They can release harmful chemicals into the air you’re breathing.
Inside your home or office, you might be exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and mildew, dust mites, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and more. Indoor air pollutants are a major concern for many homeowners in cold climates. The harshness of winter weather can cause your home to lose heat, which can lead to a decrease in indoor air quality. Don’t fret: there are ways to maintain healthy air in your indoor environment during the cold season.
- First, make sure that your heating system is working properly. If you have an older furnace, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. A newer furnace will use less energy and can help you save money on your utility bills.
- Next, consider installing a humidifier in your home if you live in a dry climate or if the humidity level drops below 50%. Humidifiers can help restore moisture to the air and provide relief from dry skin and scratchy throats.
- Finally, keep windows closed while heating your house, so that warm air doesn’t escape through them. If possible, install storm windows or insulated drapes to protect against cold temperatures.
Studies have shown that IAQ problems can be linked to increased absences from work or school due to illness. So how do we make sure we’re not breathing in harmful pollutants when we’re at home or work?
What Is Good Indoor Air Quality?
The National Institute of Health estimates over 50% of the population will suffer from symptoms related to poor indoor air quality at some point in their lives. It’s a huge problem, and it can be hard to diagnose.
Good indoor air quality is a combination of three factors:
Temperature: You must maintain a comfortable temperature for your home’s inhabitants.
Humidity: It should be between 40% and 60%.
Ventilation: This is the most important factor in good IAQ. It would be best if you had good ventilation so that the air in your house could circulate properly.
Good IAQ is when your home’s environment is free from pollutants and contaminants that cause health problems.
This includes things like:
- dust mites
- animal dander (like cat or dog hair)
- VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- radon gas
- carbon monoxide
- Carbon dioxide
- cigarette smoke!
How Do I Know If My Home Has Good IAQ?
There are many ways to tell if your home has a good IAQ.
To keep your indoor air clean, follow these tips:
- Clean your HVAC system regularly so it doesn’t release particles into the air
- Make sure there aren’t any leaks in your HVAC system
- Keep your home sealed tight when heating, and when not, open windows regularly to let in fresh air
- Get an indoor air quality monitor
How Do You Maintain Healthy Indoor Air Quality?
The winter season is a time when indoor air quality is especially important. The heating system, which keeps you warm and cozy, can also damage indoor air quality. That’s because the heaters release chemicals into your home that can negatively impact your health.
Keeping your indoor air quality at an optimal level is important, especially in the winter months. In the winter, your home’s heating system will be running more frequently and at higher temperatures, which can cause several issues for your IAQ.
What Are the Factors That Negatively Affect IAQ In the Winter?
Winter can be a tough time for indoor air quality problems. Here’s what you need to know about the factors that negatively affect IAQ in the winter and how to keep your family safe.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says four components determine indoor air quality:
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Particulate Matter (PM)
These factors can be affected by a number of things:
- Sources of pollution: This includes cleaning products and paints, which contain VOCs; water sources that are contaminated with lead or other chemicals; and cigarette smoke.
- Ventilation: Ventilation helps eliminate CO from your home’s air supply. It also removes VOCs from furniture, carpeting, and other household items, which are usually more concentrated during cold.
- Humidity levels: Humidity levels can help reduce PM levels in your home’s air supply. The moisture absorbs pollutants like dust particles and mold spores.
Winter can be a tough time for home air quality, especially when trying to stay warm with your heating system. There are a lot of factors that negatively affect IAQ in the winter, but thankfully there are ways to combat them!
Here are some of the most common factors that hurt IAQ during the colder months:
- Low temperatures outside: Lower temperatures mean lower energy efficiency and less airflow. This means your HVAC system has to work harder to keep your home warm. It can lead to higher energy bills and more wear and tear on your heating system.
- Increased humidity from water heaters: Using hot water from your water heater creates condensation in the pipes. The condensation can lead to increased humidity levels in the air. This will make it feel even colder than it actually is because you’re heating more water than normal while also creating a lot of moisture in your home.
- Dry winter air indoors: When it’s cold outside, it creates static electricity. Static electricity attracts dirt and dust particles into your HVAC system. Static electricity also causes those particles to stick together, so they collect on filters and other parts of your HVAC system. Here they cause damage over time through clogs or corrosion.
- Poor ventilation: One of the main ways heaters cause IAQ issues is by not venting enough air. If you’re using a fireplace or space heater, ensure a good system for venting out smoke and carbon monoxide.
- Dehumidifiers: If you have a dehumidifier running in your home during winter, the low levels can drop too low and create condensation problems. This can lead to mold or mildew growth if not addressed immediately.
- Heating systems: If your heater is not working properly or has been neglected over time, it could emit dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide into your home. These dangerous gases can cause serious health problems if inhaled too often!
To Maintain Good IAQ This Winter:
- Make sure to change your furnace filters regularly
- Use a humidifier if you live in a dry climate or are heating with wood
- Don’t smoke indoors
- Clean up any spills immediately
- Keep your house well ventilated
- Use only electric heaters in rooms where you spend most of your time
- If you use wood stoves, ensure they’re correctly installed and well maintained
- Make sure all combustion-type appliances (furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, etc.) are vented to an outside wall
- Use an air purifier
- Open windows and doors while cooking or showering to help remove contaminants from the air.
- Change filters regularly
- When heating the home, keep windows closed during cold weather months to prevent drafts
- Properly maintain your HVAC system
- Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature
- Clean your HVAC system
- Ventilation should be increased when not running the heating system so air can circulate freely through the house
Use Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers When Necessary
When it comes to maintaining good indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home, many factors can have an impact. Humidity levels should be between 30% and 50% throughout the house during winter. If you live in a dry climate like Nevada, you may need to use humidifiers more often than dehumidifiers.
If you’re looking for help with your IAQ this winter, The Cooling Company can help. We offer HVAC services in greater Las Vegas and the surrounding area. We would love to schedule a time to help you keep your home comfortable this season.
Your home’s indoor air quality should be a top priority for you and your family.