The most wonderful time of the year has drawn to a close, taking with it all the parties, loving extended family members, and cheerful holiday music. But what it left behind could lead to the most dangerous time of the year for your home air quality. You might not notice much of a change in air quality, but your sinuses and respiratory system will. Poor indoor air quality in winter may come from more sources than you realize. This year, be mindful of the air quality in your home and take steps to keep it clear.
The most obvious problem with indoor air quality in winter is that it’s stale. We talk often about going out for “fresh air,” or opening a window to let in fresh outdoor air. In winter, however, this happens less and less. As doors are more often closed and windows are sealed, the air inside becomes stale and stagnant, and indoor allergens like dust and dander become more potent. Of course, with a good HVAC unit, fresh air can be circulated into the home, even if you don’t spend much time outside. But there are a few things to keep in mind as you turn your heating unit on this year.
The holidays may be the first time since last winter that you had to turn your heating unit on. That means that for most of the year, your furnace was sitting dormant, collecting dust. Unless you change filters monthly, the filter probably looks pretty dirty, and that air will circulate throughout the home. The air quality may also be affected by faulty humidifiers, air dampers, or a combination of air conditioning in the day and heating at night. If you didn’t clean the furnace before turning it on this year, turn it off and change the filters before turning it back on again.
Along with all the goodwill, cheer, and hall-decking, the holidays were full of food...and lots of it. To make those mountains of food easier for cooks and bakers all over, many “non-stick” pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils may have been used. While these surfaces made the dishes that come later considerably easier to clean, it’s important to keep in mind that the non-stick quality is achieved through the use of chemicals like teflon which release fumes into the air when overheated. These fumes remain in the air of your home after the holidays end, and can cause some sniffles and flu-like symptoms. In worst case scenarios, they have been linked to cancer. In any cooking you might do in the days ahead, cook non-stick cookware only over medium heat, or use stainless steel or oven safe glass.
With combined 50 years of experience serving the Bryan-College Station area in all things heating and cooling, Air Solutions would like to help you clear the air after your holiday season. Contact us today for more information about HVAC inspections or preventative maintenance. With a clean, quality HVAC system, we can help to boost your indoor air quality as well.