Tips for Improving Winter Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a year-round concern. However, there are distinct differences in summer and winter conditions in the home. Improving winter indoor air quality is targeted at several factors related to home heating and climate conditions. From keeping humidity levels in recommended ranges to monitoring for dangerous emissions, your HVAC contractor can help you focus on the most important steps for your family.

Humidity and Your Health

Cold air holds half as much moisture as hot air, leading to a significant drop in humidity levels during the winter. You may notice that your skin is drier and that your hair seems more brittle. Chapped lips and hands can be painful. You may not realize that low humidity levels can compromise your defenses against winter illnesses. As your mucous membranes become dry, your resistance to colds and flu can be eroded. Less than 15 percent RH in your home can also trigger coughs, a serious issue for those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory concerns.

Your indoor humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent throughout the year. You can use a hygrometer to measure the levels. If supplemental moisture is needed in your home, a furnace humidifier is an excellent solution for improving your home’s indoor air.

Combustion Heating

As winter heating begins, gas-powered furnaces should be inspected and adjusted. An annual tune-up is critical for ensuring excellent performance and safety in the home. Problems with venting equipment, heat exchangers, and other components can lead to the emission of carbon monoxide, a gas that is invisible and deadly. Proper duct maintenance is also important because emissions can infiltrate the home through leaks in the ducts. Your HVAC professional can do a thorough inspection and recommend any necessary repairs or cleaning services to improve household safety. Installation of a carbon monoxide alarm is also an important protective measure that is definitely recommended.

Home Performance Issues

Many homeowners strive to maintain tight sealing of their residences so that winter energy bills won’t be excessive. However, tight-sealing can amplify indoor air pollution. A good balance between sealing and ventilating is important to ensure that pollution levels can be moderated. An energy recovery ventilator is an excellent system component to consider so that dirty indoor air can be exhausted out of the house while clean air is pulled into the structure. The ERV recovers a significant amount of the heat moving out of the home, keeping the impact on the structure’s heating load to a minimum.

Air Cleaning

An air purifier can help in removing pollutants from your airstream. A germicidal unit is ideal for limiting your exposure to viruses and bacteria during the winter months. The technology used in such system traps and kills dangerous pollutants.

If you are interested in improving winter indoor air quality in your home, you can contact the Newberry, FL team for Bounds Heating & Air. Our technicians can provide an IAQ evaluation. We can also recommend and install HVAC system components to address your specific winter air pollution concerns.