Cold weather is here and it’s only going to get colder. Gone are the days of opening up the windows to fill your home with fresh air -- in many parts of the country, you’re about to stay huddled up indoors for the next several weeks. And since you’ll be breathing more indoor air than in the months past, it’s the most important time of year to focus on your home’s indoor air quality.
There are a lot of ways you can improve the quality of the air you breathe at home. Some are as simple as routine cleaning and maintenance, while others involve installing new systems that purify the air on a microscopic level. The combination of approaches that’s best for you may depend on how well sealed your home is, whether you have pets and whether anyone in your home has respiratory problems.
Here are a few things you might consider at the outset of the winter heating season:
Clean your HVAC registers and vents. All of the air handled by your HVAC system blows through them, so these vents will inevitably get dusty. A flexible duster or the wand attachment on your vacuum should make this an easy job, and it can cut down on the amount of dust blowing through your home.
Clean your ceiling fan blades. Just as with your vents, dusty ceiling fans can circulate even more dust around your home. And while you’re at it, reverse your ceiling fan direction so that the blades turn clockwise, creating an updraft. This helps circulate warm air throughout the room and may allow you to set the thermostat a couple degrees lower without sacrificing comfort.
Schedule professional duct cleaning. The worst accumulation of dust and allergens in your home may be in the places you can’t see. Professional duct cleaning lets technicians reach deep into your ductwork with special vacuums and spray gentle disinfectants that can help keep your ducts cleaner for months to come.
Check and replace your filters. This is a year-round job, but it’s as important as ever during the winter. When people and pets spend more time indoors, they shed more skin cells and hair, causing filters to fill up faster.
Switch your fan to “on” mode. This strategy is a trade-off: when your fan runs constantly, your indoor air is always being filtered, boosting air quality. But you may see the difference in your monthly utility bills, and it will also increase the wear and tear on your HVAC system’s fan.
Add an air filtration system. If you’re ready to make an investment in your indoor air quality, professional installation of an air filtration system is a smart first step. These systems complement your existing HVAC system by filtering out microscopic particles that may currently be flowing through your HVAC filters. And by keeping your indoor air clean, they can also make your HVAC system more efficient and longer lasting.
Disinfect with UV light. You can go a step further by installing UV disinfection systems in strategic locations throughout your ductwork. While these systems don’t capture airborne particles, they can remove toxic gases, odors, germs, bacteria and viruses using low-voltage UV light.
If you want to learn more about professional maintenance like duct cleaning or advanced systems for purifying your indoor air, reach out to your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. And in the meantime, get a jump on spring cleaning with a little winter cleaning at the outset of heating season. Your lungs will thank you!