How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality This Winter

Someone holding a coffee cup on the windowsill

It will not be long before pleasant fall temperatures give way to some intense “sweater weather” here in Northern California

With late fall and early winter daytime temperatures hovering around the upper 50s, and overnight lows dropping into the 30s, we are starting to spend more time indoors getting comfy in our Santa Rosa homes.

Less time spent in fresh outdoor air over the next few months means more time breathing indoor air. That is not a problem if you have taken steps to protect your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ).  

Our experts at Enviro Heating & Air Conditioning can suggest solutions for improving the air you breathe at home. Maintaining your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, regularly cleaning your home, and managing indoor humidity can enhance your indoor environment.

Ventilation, which may be as simple as occasionally opening a window, brings fresh air indoors. 

What Causes Dirty Indoor Air?

Here are a few factors that could impact the air you breathe:

  • Particulate matter, such as dust, pet dander, dirt, and insect parts, can circulate through your HVAC system and ductwork
  • Bacteria, viruses, and mold can linger and grow in damp spaces. 
  • Gases, like deadly carbon monoxide (CO) and respiratory system irritant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), form from burning materials indoors.
  • Fireplaces, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, and dryers may emit combustion pollutants, including particles. 
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter the air when you use paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, paints, and other products. 

How Does Poor Indoor Air Affect Your Health?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that mold, dust mites, pet dander, and secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks and symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and breathing difficulties.

The agency also points out that carbon monoxide, which can leak from a faulty furnace, leads to headaches, dizziness, nausea, and possibly death.

Nitrogen dioxide, a combustion pollutant from fireplaces and gas heaters, can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and cause shortness of breath.

VOCs cause headaches, nausea, and potential kidney damage.

5 Tips to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Here are some practical recommendations to improve the air you breathe:

  • Clean your house.

Regularly dust and vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to control dust mites, pet dander, and other particulate matter. Remove mold or mildew and address any consistently damp areas in your home. Switch out harsh chemical cleaners for environment-friendly products. 

  • Change your air filter.

A dirty, clogged air filter will circulate particulate matter through your heating and cooling system and your environment. Do your lungs and HVAC equipment a favor by inspecting your system’s air filter every month and changing it at least every three months. 

  • Bring in the fresh air.

You can open a window, but the temperature in your home may drop and trigger the thermostat to start your furnace or heat pump. Installing a ventilator is a better way to enjoy fresh air without heated or cooled air escaping from your living space to the outdoors.

Ventilators also help reduce humidity in the summer and filter out particulate matter. Ask our experts at Enviro Heating & Air Conditioning which model is best for your home. 

  • Balance humidity levels.

Maintain a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. You can increase the humidity in your home by air-drying laundry indoors, adding houseplants, and allowing dishwasher contents to air-dry. Consider installing a whole-house humidifier that will work with your HVAC system to distribute humidified air through your ductwork and into your living space. 

  • Eliminate bacteria and viruses.

Worried about bacteria or viruses circulating in the air? Ask us about installing an ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate microbes as they pass through your HVAC system.

How Can You Breathe Easier This Winter?

Preventative maintenance plays a vital role in your safety and comfort. It ensures your heating and cooling units are clean and operating safely. A well-maintained gas furnace that runs at peak efficiency contributes to a cleaner environment and a reduced carbon footprint.

Looking for a stress-free way to maintain your HVAC equipment? Join our CARE Maintenance Membership Program to take advantage of repair discounts, priority service, labor warranties, and other perks!

Schedule your furnace or heat pump tune-up today to extend its service life. 

Make Indoor Air a Priority 

Ask our professionals at Enviro Heating & Air Conditioning how we can help improve the indoor air quality in your Santa Rosa, CA, home. Call us at 707-795-7219 or request service online.