During the winter months, when people spend more time inside, and doors and windows of homes and offices are kept tightly shut, indoor air quality (IAQ) issues and complaints often come to light. This may be due to a lack of fresh air, a dry indoor environment or because of an increased concentration of allergens and indoor pollutants.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps people can take to help reduce the potential for indoor air quality problems in their home or office. They include the following:
• Change out dirty air filters in the HVAC system. This is also a potentially good time to have the system and air ducts checked to make sure they are clean and operating properly.
• If dry winter air is an issue, consider using humidifiers. However, be sure to maintain them properly. The improper use of these devices can lead to mold growth and support the presence of dust mites if humidity levels are too high.
• Use exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.
• Keep the use of candles to a minimum and be sure fireplaces are operating properly.
• Many pets spend more time indoors during winter months so be sure they are regularly bathed and keep them out of the bedrooms of people with allergies.
• Keep the indoor environment clean, remove dust and use a HEPA vacuum on a regular basis.
• Avoid creating fumes from the use of harsh cleaning chemicals and air fresheners that can pollute the indoor air.
• If possible, delay home improvement projects that create dust and put off projects that involve painting or staining until doors and windows can be opened.
• Regularly inspect for signs of water damage and mold growth, including in places that are out of sight such as in attics, basements, crawl spaces and under cabinets.