Unless you’ve retired to much warmer climes, winter means hunkering down indoors and making the most of being at home. That can mean watching home movies and family favorites, putting up all your coziest decorations, or throwing your baking into overdrive with more Christmas cookies than you can count. But spending that much time indoors means you’re not getting the fresh air you’d get in the summertime, and that could mean serious breathing problems or just a nasty case of cabin fever. Make sure your home’s air is as healthy as possible with these tips for improving indoor air quality this winter.
Cut Down on Scents
When real Christmas trees aren’t an option and you can’t pull a fresh batch of gingerbread men out of the oven every hour, you might like to turn to scented candles and aerosols to give your home a distinctly holiday feel. There’s nothing wrong with a burst of fragrance now and then to get in the spirit, but you shouldn’t get into the habit of laying down olfactory wallpaper, so to speak. Many scented candles are made of paraffin wax, a derivative of kerosene. As they melt, they release volatile compounds such as benzene and acetone into the air, which scientists have recognized as carcinogenic. Additionally, those aerosol fragrances people love so much release similar compounds into the air. You may love the scents, but you’ll breathe better without constantly releasing these chemicals.
Check the Furnace Filter
When you head down to the basement to dig up all your holiday decorations, take an extra minute or two while you’re down there to check on your furnace. Chances are, you’ll be relying heavily on your furnace to keep your home as warm and cozy as your decorations would suggest, which means you need it working at its most efficient. A clean new air filter will keep dirt, dust, and dander out of your ducts, which means you’ll breathe better around the house and your furnace won’t have to work so hard.
Consider an Air Purifier
In the winter, you’re probably not letting a lot of fresh air into the house—it’s hard to throw the windows open when it’s 15 degrees outside. You don’t want to bring that cold indoors, of course, but cutting out the cross-breezes means your home’s air can start to feel a little stale. Consider remedying that with an air purifier in the main room of your house. An air purifier with a HEPA filter will trap many of the particles suspended in the air and leave the air feeling fresher than before. If you have asthma and live in a cold climate, a purifier is practically a must.
The air you breathe at home is important to your quality of life. Use these to tips for improving indoor air quality this winter so that you can breathe clearly and happily until it’s time to open the windows again in the spring.