By this time we’re several months into winter, and as temperatures take a dive, you will likely find yourself spending more time indoors. If your children attend school, they spend about half or 2/3 of their time at home. If you work a 9-5 job, you probably spend half of all your time indoors. Those that work from home, which is a growing number, will spend almost all of their time indoors. When we’re at home, we breathe only the air inside our home—and the quality isn’t always great. At Chesapeake Chimney & Co., we want our customers, friends, and neighbors in Southern Maryland to experience safety and comfort all year-round. Make sure your family is safe from harm this winter by improving your indoor air quality.
Even with new homes being built every single day and upgrades and remodels, not all homes have central air and heating units. If your home doesn’t, your air quality will be slightly different, as well as the methods of improving it. If you own or rent a home with central air and heat, there are things you can do right away to improve the air you’re breathing.
Change the air filter regularly
You’re a/c and furnace recycles the same air through the system whether heating or cooling it. This means the same air flows through ductwork, through the heating or cooling unit, and back out again. When this air is pulled into the system again, it must be filtered in order to maintain efficiency and safety. We often forget this quick and easy filter change, but it must be done! Set a reminder to change your disposable filter on the first of each month or to clean your reusable filter.
Clean and check vent outlets regularly
If there is a problem in the ductwork, you will likely notice signs at the vent outlets. You may see mold or what appears to be dust is always covering the vent covers. This means there is probably a bigger problem in the unseen spaces. If you notice a problem, especially the presence of mold, schedule dryer vent services with a professional. This doesn’t always mean an expensive appointment. An HVAC or professional should be able to assess and sanitize the ductwork in a relatively inexpensive appointment.
Breathe Easier in Any Home
Prevent rodent infestation
One of the hidden dangers to your air quality that is difficult to assess is the presence of rodents in the home. Many homeowners don’t realize there is a problem until there is a serious infestation. Mouse urine and droppings, spider webs and nests, roaches, and more can make homes in the ductwork where your air flows consistently. These rodents carry germs and bacteria as well as odors that will move through your home as the air cycles through the system—sometimes up to 100 times per day.
Clean the chimney and fireplace
If you have a fireplace or chimney system along with or instead of central air and heat, your air quality may be slightly more difficult to control. In order to prevent very serious respiratory issues, it’s important to schedule routine services for your chimney system. This will cut down on smoky fires, particulate pollution, and carbon monoxide dangers. Properly disposing of the ash that accumulates in the fireplace will also improve air quality.
Use your exhaust fans
Most bathrooms and kitchens are equipped with an exhaust fan designed to vent odors, bacteria, heat, and moisture outdoors. Using the fan, especially in the kitchen, will vent harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the home.
Clean floors, rugs, and carpets
It is best practice to sweep daily, especially if you have pets. If you have rugs or carpets, this task should include vacuuming, too. A deep clean of the floors each week will further improve your home’s air quality.
Clean all air vents
It isn’t just the central air and heat system that depends on an air filter to work properly. You have other important units and tools in your home that need that same level of maintenance to work properly. Your vacuum cleaner, kitchen vent, bathroom exhaust, clothes dryer vent, and even your window screens should be cleaned regularly. Most of these tasks can be completed regularly by the homeowner, but a clothes dryer vent clean-out is an essential part of annual maintenance to prevent fires and product failure.
Use a dehumidifier if necessary
Moisture in the air not only leads to some respiratory problems but will also breed bacteria in dark and warm spaces (like ducts and vents). Some common places that dehumidifiers are utilized in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, and those most susceptible to illness (children, elderly, people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease) spend more time indoors! If you are concerned about your home’s air quality, there is good reason to be, especially in winter. Pollutants are especially dangerous in homes with no exhaust fans, homes recently “bombed” with pesticides or biological agents, and those that frequently use air cleaners and fresheners.
At Chesapeake Chimney & Co. we rise to the task of raising awareness and providing services to keep our communities safe. If you need help keeping your home safe, call Chesapeake today at 410-535-0052.