Winter is on its way and with it comes chilly outdoor air, cozy spaces, and unfortunately, poorer indoor air quality. As temps plummet, windows and doors stay closed to conserve heat, which ends up trapping pollutants and harmful chemicals inside.
This can seriously affect your health, causing problems like allergies and asthma attacks, especially for people who are extremely sensitive. Here’s what to do to reduce your exposure and how Jones Services can help.
Candles and incense might seem like great additions to the winter atmosphere, but the impact they have on your indoor air is far from comforting. Both release harmful pollutants and fine particulate matter like soot and ash into the air, which is made worse by the lack of airflow. The result is indoor air that can make you cough or sneeze, make your eyes water, or cause you to feel groggy and lethargic.
The Solution: You can use an essential oil diffuser that disperses natural fragrances without emitting harmful chemicals. In the winter, this is even thought to help ward away illnesses like the flu, particularly with certain essential oils like clove, pine, and eucalyptus.
Mold and mildew are two more offenders that impact air quality indoors during the winter. Cooler temperatures and stagnant air create the perfect conditions for these unwelcome guests to thrive when moisture accumulates on cold surfaces like window sills and baseboards. As mold and mildew flourish, they release spores into the air, which often triggers allergic reactions or causes respiratory problems.
The Solution: Your indoor humidity should be around 30% to 50% in the winter. Wetter air causes more mold and mildew while drier air prevents it. However, a balance is necessary, since dry indoor air can also cause issues like dry skin or nosebleeds. If you see mold or mildew on a surface in your home, clean it with a solution of soap and water.
Gas stoves may be a household staple in New York houses, but the dangers they present become more pronounced as the weather gets colder and homeowners are keeping their doors and windows closed more often.
A gas stove produces harmful combustion byproducts like carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which seep into the air you breathe. With ongoing exposure, these colorless and odorless gasses can cause headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, and eventually death.
The Solution: If possible, replace your gas stove or use it less frequently during the winter. When in use, ventilate your home as much as the weather outside permits. Using a microwave or toaster oven for small meals and saving your oven for big holiday fixings is a great way to limit the amount of harmful toxins your gas stove can emit inside your home.
If you heat your home with a wood stove during the winter, it’s important to be aware of your air quality. Wood smoke contains tiny particles, called PM2.5, that are able to quickly and easily penetrate the deepest parts of the respiratory system.
This causes irritation, aggravates existing lung conditions, and even increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Since wood smoke contains the same harmful compounds as incense and candles but to a much higher degree, it becomes a significant concern when coupled with poor airflow in winter.
The Solution: Make sure your wood stove is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since these models have been specifically designed to burn wood more efficiently and emit fewer pollutants. If you don’t have an EPA-certified wood stove, consider replacing it if you have the budget.
You should also have a good exhaust fan that removes smoke and air pollution directly from the fire to the outside of your home. It’s also a good idea to periodically open your windows to let fresh, oxygenated air in, weather permitting.
At Jones Services, we know how important it is for your family to have access to clean, healthy indoor air all year round. We can help you locate areas of concern in your home and replace unhealthy heating sources with options that are better for you and your loved ones. Ductless mini splits are a great way to get clean heat fast and can be installed in as little as a few hours. Contact us today to learn more about heating your home in the winter with a ductless heat pump by dialing (845) 295-1776. We look forward to hearing from you about how we can optimize your home heating.