We’re all going to be spending more time indoors over the next few months and there are some simple actions we can take to improve our indoor air quality.  Most of the pollutants we breathe in our homes come from things like pets, dirt and dust, and appliances.  Check out these tips to start breathing cleaner air today!

Maintain your ventilation and air exchange

If you have a heat pump, make sure it’s in an open area that is free of leaves, pine needles, etc.   If your home is more than 10 years old, or you don’t know the last time the ducts were cleaned, consider having it done professionally to remove allergens, dust, and general other “crud” that has settled over time.  If you’re having your ducts professionally cleaned, be prepared to allow anywhere from 3-5 hours for it to be done thoroughly and correctly.

Clean air vents

The large vents inside your home (not the smaller floor registers) are called return air vents and their purpose is to pull indoor air back to the heating and cooling system.  Be sure these vents aren’t blocked by furniture or any other obstructions.  Cleaning them simply requires removing dust, which can be done with a household vacuum and hose attachment.

Always use the kitchen exhaust 

It’s especially important to always use the kitchen exhaust if your range or cook-top & oven are fuel powered (most commonly gas or propane).  Most kitchen exhausts are part of a range hood.  Fuel burning appliances release carbon monoxide, which is why it’s especially important to use the exhaust vent when they are in use.  If you don’t have an exhaust, opening a window will also work.

Don’t forget the flue

If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to open the flue.  Otherwise, smoke and gas can’t get out and will smoke will flood your home.

Change the filter

It’s important to change your furnace filters regularly so your system will run efficiently and properly.  Filters do a great job of catching dust, debris, pet dander and other pollutants, but when they haven’t been changed they will become clogged with this debris and both you and your HVAC system will notice.  We recommend adding a recurring appointment to your calendar to avoid filters getting neglected.

Check the dryer vent

Dryer vents are designed to move moisture, heat, & chemicals from inside the dryer to outside your home.  If they get clogged or aren’t vented properly, your inside air quality will suffer.

A clean pet is a happy pet

Making sure your pet (dogs and cats both!) is groomed regularly will cut down on pet dander building up in your home.  Brush and/or bathe your pets regularly – they’ll love the attention and you’ll love the improved air quality!  Just be sure to brush them outside to avoid fur spreading inside.  Lint rollers are also handy to keep around for furniture and what’s left behind after those special cuddles!

Maintaining your filters, HVAC system, vents and using good practices will help keep clean air in your home, which we will all benefit from in the coming colder months!