Fall Indoor Air Quality in Montana
With fall now upon us in Missoula, MT, cooler temperatures are here to stay. This transition from one season to another most definitely affects your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). And your IAQ directly affects your comfort in your home. In cooler weather, there is a greater tendency to spend more time indoors at home, thus it is important to be sure your IAQ is protected, keeping both you and your home healthy.
How Is IAQ Affected in the Fall?
Think about it. Your home’s indoor air is a composite of many sources: the outdoor air that comes through your open windows, the dander from your pets, the air in your basement that flows through your furnace, the harsh chemicals used in many cleaning products, the mold spores existing in the crawlspace beneath your house, just to name a few. In the warmer months, the open windows allow fresh air in on a regular basis, diluting the stale air in your home, and your air conditioner is keeping your home’s humidity in check. When the windows close and the air conditioner is turned off for the season, these good effects disappear until next year. Now the air in your home simply circulates, and all those composites and particles in the home stay there. The humidity decreases, causing your body’s membranes and nasal passages to dry out, inviting harmful bacteria and viruses in. Drier air also wreaks havoc on allergy and asthma sufferers. This is all a recipe for health issues.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Home’s IAQ
In the cooler months with the windows continually closed and furnaces switched on, you need to take additional steps to protect the air you breathe in your home. You can prevent or lessen the possibility of some of the health concerns above by following these recommendations:
- Use a humidifier. It’s so important to keep your home’s humidity levels between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendation of 30 to 50 percent. Drier air causes nosebleeds, cracked skin, respiratory problems, sinus issues, static electricity, and many other negatives.
- Change your HVAC filters regularly, at least every 4-6 weeks during heavy heating season for a 1”- 2” filter; or every 6 months for a 4”- 5” wide media filter. Choose a good quality pleated filter (8+ MERV, if possible) to catch the particles and prevent them from continuously circulating. Changing your filter can make a huge difference. The Design Air home comfort team suggests changing it monthly if someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma. Regularly changing your filters also helps to increase your HVAC system’s lifespan by preventing dust and particles from running through the system.
- Clean regularly. Many health challenges are caused by dust, dirt, pests, bacteria, viruses, and mold. Regular house cleaning, especially vacuuming and dusting, helps to prevent these from building up and getting into the air. Also, when cleaning, switching to more natural cleaning products using essential oils instead of harsh chemicals can make a substantial difference in your home’s IAQ.
- Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year. Be sure to schedule your heating system’s maintenance appointment on an annual basis. A proper cleaning and tuneup allows your system to run properly, helping to improve the IAQ and increase your system’s lifespan. It does not matter when your maintenance is done within the year, just as long as it is done once a year.
- Open your windows daily. Even in the coldest temperatures, it’s a good idea to open a window in every room for at least a few minutes to invite some fresh air in. It helps to keep bacteria and viruses at bay.
There are so many things to enjoy about fall. Be sure your home’s IAQ is protected to keep you healthy and comfortable, so you’re able to enjoy the fall and all the wonders it brings. Call Design Air, Inc. at (406-251-7997) to discuss how we can help you improve your home’s indoor air quality.