Winter Air Quality Risks to Be Aware Of
While most homeowners are familiar with changing heating or cooling needs that come with the varying seasons of the year, including the use of furnaces and other heating products during the current winter, the realm of air quality sometimes goes under the radar here. It’s important to realize that seasonal changes can also impact your home’s air quality, and this winter season is a prime example.
At Accurate Air, our HVAC contractors are here to assist clients around Tempe and Scottsdale with not only all their various heating and air conditioning service needs throughout the year, but also important air quality services like duct cleaning, air purifiers and more. Let’s have a look at why winter is often considered the most challenging part of the year when it comes to indoor air quality, some of the risks that you may be facing here, and some general approaches for ensuring your home’s air quality stays high throughout the year.
More Time Indoors
While we’ll expand on this theme in a moment, the overarching concept that impacts air quality during winter is that most of us will be spending far more time indoors, and using our heating systems heavily to keep ourselves warm. This leads to a major reduction in fresh air flow into the home, as well as an increase in airborne contaminants like dust, pet dander and others.
You see, one of the natural goals of keeping heat inside the home during winter requires keeping as many openings in the building closed as possible. While this is excellent for your heating efficiency, it also means that pollutants and contaminants from everyday activities (cooking, cleaning, etc.) are far more likely to stay indoors with you – leading to a lower overall air quality.
Furthermore, because home occupants themselves will also be spending more time indoors, the risk of illnesses increases – and this is particularly true for those who are already susceptible to respiratory issues.
Possible Contaminants in the Home
While most of these contaminants can enter your home at any time of the year, here are some that will often be increased during the winter period:
- Combustion sources: One of the primary sources of home pollution during winter is the products we use to heat our homes. Many households use wood-burning fireplaces or space heaters, and while these are great for keeping us warm, they also emit various pollutants that can drastically reduce air quality. Even your furnace or water heater, if not properly maintained, can also produce harmful pollutants.
- Cleaning products: During winter months, cleaning activities may increase due to more people staying indoors, and the use of certain household cleaners can release chemicals into the air that are hazardous to our health.
- Candles and incense: These popular items during winter holidays often emit toxic particles when burned, contributing to poor air quality.
- Pets: For pet owners, their furry friends can also be a source of allergens and pollutants that affect air quality. Because pets tend to spend much more time indoors during winter, their impact on the air quality can increase significantly.
- Home improvements: If you are planning to make any home improvements during winter, such as painting or remodeling, be aware that these activities can release harmful chemicals like formaldehyde into the air.
Solutions for Maintaining Good Air Quality
Despite the potential risks to your indoor air quality during winter, there are some simple steps you can take to help maintain good air quality in your home:
- Clean and replace air filters regularly: Regularly changing or cleaning your air filters is essential for both maintaining good airflow and removing contaminants from the air.
- Invest in an air purifier: Air purifiers are specifically designed to remove pollutants from the air, helping to maintain good indoor air quality throughout the year.
- Schedule professional duct cleaning: Duct cleaning removes built-up dust and debris from your ductwork, eliminating a major source of pollutants in your home.
- Properly ventilate: While keeping windows and doors closed is important for energy efficiency, it’s also essential to regularly open them to let fresh air into the home. This will help prevent pollutants from building up.
At Accurate Air, we offer a range of services aimed at helping our clients maintain clean and healthy air in their homes. Whether you need a professional duct cleaning, an air purifier installation or just some general advice on air quality maintenance, we are here to help. Contact us today for more information about this or any of our other HVAC and air quality services around Tempe, Scottsdale and nearby areas!