Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Tips for Breathing Easier Indoors

This week's guest post is courtesy of Jakob from

Winter is synonymous with snow, ice, and freezing cold yet despite the chill it can be a visually stimulating and exciting season.

At the same time it’s interesting to note that unless we’re doing activities like skiing, making snowmen, shoveling or simply commuting to work a majority of our winter experiences occur indoors.

For this reason it’s important to make sure the air we breathe is as fresh as can be and pure enough to keep everyone in the family healthy.

Unfortunately there aren’t any simple devices that can determine the state of a home’s air. However, targeting a few common problems can make a world of a difference:
  • Dust: Mostly organic in origin and falling arbitrarily around the home dust is a major culprit in tainting indoor air. When it builds up it can be a leading cause of respiratory problems in both children and adults. It can’t be prevented, but by taking a few minutes each week to wipe down household surfaces, it can be controlled. One of the keys to solving dust problems is keeping clutter to a minimum because, in a strange way, having papers, magazines, mail or various tchotchkes all over the place is an invitation for dust. Also, the less time needed for organizing, the more can be spent on getting at the dust itself.
  • Mold: Every so often it’s a good idea to check areas of the home for mold, which contaminates indoor air. Hot spots include places where condensation occurs and near water pipes, such as below sinks where slow leaks create the perfect mold and mildew breeding ground. Even in drier climates professional contractors like Henderson, Nevada carpenters will highly recommend taking immediate action against mold problems because, aside from polluting household air, mold and mildew can severely damage interior woodwork when an infestation occurs.
  • Cleaners: Ordinary household cleaners may do the job well, but have you considered the various chemicals which they are made from? Those substances translate into noxious fumes that can cause headaches, dizziness, and worse if a home is not well ventilated. With freezing temperatures outside it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave the windows open indefinitely so now is a good opportunity to start using eco-friendly brands, some of which may still have odors but with less threatening results. Alternatively, homemade cleaners can be made from household ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. In both cases they will compete nicely with standard products.
  • Air filters: Do you use a central heating system at home during the winter? Even if you use one during the summer for air conditioning, one of the most important maintenance tasks that doesn't require a serviceman is to change or clean the filters. Filters strain dirty particles floating through a home’s airspace yet when they are clogged these particles will likely re-circulate back into the home and be inhaled. That being the case, doing a check every few months on the filters will improve air quality, everyone’s breathing and also help the system itself work more efficiently.

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for His most recent writing projects include research about eco-friendly products for professional painters.

1 comment:

  1. We were having breathing issues at my home this winter. Especially my mother, who has moved in with us at the age of 82. We had our furniture and carpets steamed clean by green choice carpet cleaning , a local company in our area, and have much better air ever since. I didn't realize what a difference this would make, but it certainly did. Your blog reminds me that I'm not crazy. It really makes a difference.