Experts will tell you to seal your home up from the outside elements in both the summer and winter – and it is good advice. However, when you seal your home to prevent energy loss, you may be unknowingly trapping pollutants inside – pollutants that can cause you harm. So, how can you balance those concerns? We talked to our resident expert, Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air, to get the lowdown on attaining healthy indoor air in your home this winter.
Look For Signs Of Unwanted Humidity
You can do many things to bring healthy air inside your home without the expense of heat loss. One of the most important things is having proper indoor ventilation. However, Keith says that one of the signs that will tip you off to improper ventilation and humidity is when condensation forms on your windows when subzero temps hit.
“As a rule, the more moisture that builds up on the windows, the more pollutants there are in the home. Consider a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that can take care of your ventilation needs automatically,” he says. “We think of mold as a summertime problem, but indoor moisture and cold outside temps can cause condensate to form when the two come together.”
Keith says even average amounts of humidity can cause condensate if the building envelope has issues. That’s why homeowners need to look for signs of moisture on walls, ceilings, and anywhere on the home’s exterior envelope.
Don’t Add Pollutants Unknowingly
Secondly, you want to make sure you pay attention to what you bring inside your home – especially in the winter months. Many paints, stains, and other household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals and VOCS (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can really make you sick if you ingest them.
“Don’t add to the problem. If you have hobbies that give off VOCs … wait until you can do these hobbies outdoors or with the windows open,” says Keith.
Also, making sure that those that use tobacco go outside to smoke is a healthier choice – and the right one – when it comes to stopping cancer-causing chemicals from being trapped inside.
Change Your Filter Regularly
Last, but never least, Keith says to change your filter to improve air quality and keep your furnace working reliably.
A clean furnace is a happy furnace, and a happy furnace is one that will keep you comfortable and safe, and go easy on the pocketbook. Changing your filter regularly is the cheapest way to ensure you are breathing better air inside your home.