Now that the cold winter months have arrived, you should be on the lookout for signs that your indoor air quality has begun to worsen. During this season, humidity issues, carbon monoxide poisonings, and illnesses are on the rise. You should know how to keep these risks at bay. At Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating, we can identify the quality of your indoor air and determine what measures should be taken to keep your air clean and healthy.
Pollutants From Heat Sources
The heat source you use to keep your home warm when the temperatures drop can dictate how polluted your indoor air becomes. Many homeowners use an additional heating source, which can include anything from a coal stove to a wood stove. Despite the benefits these systems provide, they also produce air pollutants that can worsen health issues considerably.
A byproduct of combustion is carbon monoxide (CO), which is an odorless and colorless gas that makes it more difficult for your body to use oxygen. If there are high CO levels in your home, you may experience impaired thinking, headaches, and dizziness. In the worst-case scenario, death can occur as well.
While your water heater, stove, and furnace also produce carbon monoxide, these systems burn somewhat efficiently, which means that much less CO is produced. Wood stoves aren’t nearly as efficient. It’s also possible that a maintenance issue has developed in your wood stove since the last time you used it.
During the year, your flue or chimney may have become damaged or blocked, which can result in CO leaking into your home. If you want to use a fireplace or wood stove, our team can check it for you before the start of each winter season. Your home should be outfitted with a CO detector as well.
Bad Ventilation and Air Circulation
While the winter months are ongoing, your windows and doors likely remain closed almost constantly. Some homeowners even place plastic insulation over the windows to create a better seal. While you can open windows around your home when the weather is warm, this isn’t advisable when the temperatures drop because it will cost more to heat your home back up. Keep in mind that outdoor air has considerably fewer pollutants than a home’s indoor air.
Since you’re unable to ventilate your home properly, pollutants will build up during these months. Some examples of these pollutants include bad odors, VOCs, dust mites, and tobacco smoke. You can resolve this issue by cleaning your home on a more regular basis. Along with vacuuming your floors, you should mop and wipe down any surfaces, which should prevent most pollutants from being kicked into the air.
Since your furnace will be operated constantly during the winter, your filters should be changed regularly as well. Nearly all air passes through a furnace, vents, and ducts, which is why you might want to opt for a HEPA filter that can remove as much as 99.7% of particles from your air. If a filter becomes clogged, some of the pollutants may be recirculated back into your indoor air.
Another effective method for getting rid of pollutants throughout your home is to keep your vents cleaned from excessive debris and dust. We can provide you with full duct cleaning services as well. Pet hair and dust tend to build up in these areas. While filters can be placed over these vents, they would need to be changed frequently, which can be costly.
Buildup of Pet Dander
If you have pets, there’s a good chance that they spend much more time in your home during the cold winter season. In the event that your pets have a thick coat of fur, pet dander and shedding are two issues you should be on the lookout for.
You can mitigate these issues somewhat by grooming and brushing your pet regularly. However, giving your pet too many baths can result in their skin overproducing oils. Pet dander in your home can also be reduced by cleaning regularly. Surfaces should be wiped down with damp cloths.
Dry Winter Air
The frigid air that occurs at this time of the year causes dry and cracked lips and skin. You might also experience a strange sensation when your nose becomes cracked and dry. The air that your furnace pumps out doesn’t cause this dryness. It comes from the outside air.
Air is unable to hold a substantial amount of moisture at lower temperatures. If the outdoor air is below freezing, the air will be very dry. Even if your home is built with ample amounts of insulation, it’s impossible for it to be completely sealed against outdoor air. If you live in an older home, your windows and doors may be poorly sealed. If so, the cold drafts of air from outside will make your indoor air feel dry.
When your indoor air is too dry, your skin drying out isn’t the only health problem you could encounter. If you find that your throat and nose are also dry, your chances of becoming sick will increase. Your immune system requires mucus to capture germs before they enter the rest of your system. Low levels of humidity cause the flu and other viruses to be more infectious.
Even though your indoor air will naturally dry out during the winter, this issue can be resolved with a humidifier. For instance, you could place a small unit in a bedroom. There are several options to select from today.
You could also choose to have us install a whole-house humidifier for better convenience. These systems place moisture in the air, which will reduce the dryness of your lips, throat, skin, and nose. Make sure, however, that the humidity levels never get too high. If your home’s humidity levels are higher than 65-70%, mold growth may occur.
Solve These Problems with an Air Purifier
Many of the problems that are caused by poor indoor air quality can be rectified with an air purifier. Since your home may have poor ventilation and less access to outdoor air during the winter, you may need to look to other sources to improve contaminant levels. Air purifiers are designed to get rid of pet dander, dust mites, tobacco smoke, VOCs, and other allergens.
There are a few different types of air purifiers you can select from depending on your budget. While standard air purifiers may only be designed to trap particles, more advanced purifiers can destroy allergens, VOCs, and other indoor air pollutants.
Whether you want to have an air purifier installed or would like to improve your indoor air quality by upgrading your HVAC system, our team at Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating provides comprehensive indoor air quality services. Along with air purifiers, we can install humidifiers and dehumidifiers to remove contaminants from your indoor air. The services we offer to homeowners in Irving, TX include maintenance, repair, and installation of heaters and air conditioners. We have the skills and expertise needed to service central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, and mini-split air conditioners, too. Contact Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating today to learn more about how we can improve the indoor air quality in your home.