3 tips for improving indoor air quality this winter

As the weather outside gets colder, many of us retreat indoors to keep warm and cozy.

However, if our indoor air quality is poor – due to dryness, airborne particles or even harmful chemicals – it can affect our health.

Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is a must for every homeowner. Here are a few things you can do to ensure the air quality in your home is healthy and safe during winter months:

Make sure there’s enough humidity
We’re used to high humidity in the summer but winter presents us with the opposite challenge. Air that is too dry can irritate your skin, nose and throat, and leave you more vulnerable to colds and infections. Use a hygrometer to measure your indoor humidity levels and aim to keep them between 30 and 50 per cent. If you need to add moisture, simple, everyday activities like cooking, showering and air-drying clothes inside can help. If the indoor air is still too dry, consider getting a humidifier.

Measure radon levels
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that exists in every home to a certain degree, but it can be very harmful if there are high concentrations of it. The only way to know if radon is an issue in your home is to test for it – either by using a do-it-yourself kit or by hiring a professional – and the ideal time to test is during winter months when there is reduced air circulation. If your radon levels are above 200 becquerels-per-cubic-metre, you need to take action to lower them by installing a radon mitigation system – which is relatively inexpensive and easy to do.

Maintain your furnace
Your furnace has a big impact on indoor air quality, and maintenance is key. The first step is to ensure it’s working properly. Having your furnace checked by a professional before heating season is a good idea. Next, you’ll want to change your furnace filter on a regular basis. When the filter is clogged, it’s no longer able to catch the dust, mould spores, pollen, dander and other kinds of dirt from the air. How often you need to change your filter depends on the type you use, so you should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Find more helpful home maintenance tips at tarion.com

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