While spring is right around the corner, Oklahoma homes are still primarily shut up tight as we wait out the transitional weeks of early spring. (We all know there’s bound to be one more random freeze!) Having the house closed tight all winter helps to lower utility bills, but a lack of ventilation can affect the indoor air quality.
A few weeks ago we discussed the importance of ventilation in your home. But in the winter and early spring there aren’t many opportunities to open your home for fresh air. Until we firmly move into spring seaosn, there are a few things that you can do to keep the air from becoming stagnant (and potentially harmful).
We’ve compiled a list of the most important tips:
A Strong Filter – A quality filter on your HVAC system will go a long way to help remove pollutants from the air. There are many filters on the market including inexpensive fiberglass designs that are not very effective at removing dust and other contaminants. Make sure that your forced air system filter is made from polyester/cotton and has a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) around 8-12.
We’ve discussed the MERV filter ratings before. They are an important guide for homeowners who prefer a DIY approach to HVAC maintenance. Here is a helpful refresher on the MERV ratings.
UV Germicidal Lights – These can significantly reduce the amount of toxins in your HVAC system. Germicidal UV light filters are a safe, non-chemical approach to disinfection; sterilizing organisms and eventually destroying them completely. The design is simple, inexpensive and functions like a regular air filter. They are easily installed in your system’s ductwork and calculated to produce a safe dosage of ultraviolet light (about 16,000 microwatt seconds per square centimeter). The light works continuously, even when your HVAC system isn’t in use.
Exhaust Ventilation – As we have stated, ventilation in the winter is difficult in homes that must remain closed throughout the season. But of the four basic types in insulation (exhaust, supply, balanced, and energy/heat recovery), exhaust is the most overlooked yet important source in winter. Exhaust fans will remove humidity from the bathroom and kitchen, preventing a build-up of moisture that could lead to mold. Ensuring that your exhaust fans are used and running at optimum efficiency.
Clothing Contamination – Whenever you venture outside, your clothing can easily pick up allergens though the air or direct contact. Before you enter your home, make sure that you remove your shoes and always brush off clothing that has been around pets or plant life.
Keeping your indoor air quality free from contaminants is key in keeping your household healthy and comfortable throughout the cooler months. It is especially important if anyone in your home suffers from allergies.