Winter often brings cold and wet weather. Most people respond by keeping doors and windows securely closed and staying warm and cozy inside. While it may sound comforting to stay cooped up at home when it’s cold outside, there are a range of irritants commonly found indoors that could affect the quality of your office environment if left unchecked.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can be indicated by symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, eye irritation and even asthma attacks. The speed and severity of symptoms will vary from person to person, and since they often resemble the effects of a common cold or viral infection it can be difficult to know whether air quality is to blame. That’s why monitoring and reducing indoor pollutants are your best defense against air quality health concerns.
In any season, it’s important to follow basic IAQ best practices. In winter, however, you’ll want to try a few extra tactics to monitor and maintain the indoor air quality at home or at work until it’s warm enough to head outside.
How to Improve IAQ in Winter
- Use a humidifier.
Winter air tends to have low humidity, which leads to drier air – especially when the heat gets turned up inside. Dry air can aggravate or resemble the symptoms of poor IAQ, including coughing, running nose, or itchy skin and eyes. Use a humidifier to replace the moisture in the air so you can determine whether your symptoms are related to poor IAQ or simply caused by seasonal irritation.
- Use air purifiers.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air purifiers help cleanse the air that circulates through a home or office of dust, debris, pet dander and other pollutants that contribute to poor IAQ. Keep an air purifier running in your common areas, kitchen, bedroom and office to reduce pollutants in winter and all year long.
- Perform regular cleaning.
Without regular cleaning, dust and other irritating particles can easily settle into your carpet, furniture, curtains and other areas of your home or office, aggravating the symptoms of poor IAQ. Extra moisture, mud and other debris tracked in from outdoors during winter can add even more pollutants. Regularly clean the floors and fabrics in your home and office so you don’t risk adding to air quality issues.
- Keep your HVAC system clean.
Your HVAC system needs to be properly cared for to heat and cool your home or office safely all year long. Clean or replace your HVAC system air filters as often as the manufacturer suggests, keep your vents open and clear, and inspect all exposed ductwork before winter hits for loose fittings, dirt streaks, dents, and collapsed or torn areas that could let air escape without filtration.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of poor IAQ and can’t find the root of the problem, you may need qualified professionals to inspect the air ducts in your home or office and recommend a treatment plan. The expert teams at ServiceMaster of Flint have the tools, experience and commitment to get the job done right so you can breathe easy. Give us a call today at (877) 229-6670.