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The Importance of Indoor Air Quality During Winter

The snow is falling outside and we can clearly see the impact of winter on our yards, sidewalks, decks and porches.  What is not so apparent however, is the impact of the change in seasons inside our homes regarding air quality. Have you ever noticed that people suffer from more colds and flu’s during the winter season?  Some of this is attributed to the air we are circulating and breathing inside.


Avoid chemical-laden products:  Ensure that the household cleaners you purchase are fragrance-free. Avoid purchasing plug-in air fresheners as they may contain phthalates, which are correlated with hormone disruption. In addition, many fragrances are made with petroleum, the effects of which have not been tested on humans when inhaled.

Clean more often:  In the winter, it becomes more important to keep your home clean, as you, your family and your pets spend more time indoors. If you have pets, vacuum twice a week, as dander can get locked into the carpet and irritate your family or guests, especially those already suffering from asthma or allergies.

Open a Window:  It’s as simple as that! Open a window on warmer, less-windy days to get some air flow percolating.

DIY Humidity Control: There’s a certain sweet spot that your home should be at, in terms of humidity. Keeping indoor humidity at the 30 to 60 percent range is best. Using a humidifier and dehumidifier as needed will help you achieve this balance and a hygrometer can be used for measurement.

New Purchases

Essential oils: This may surprise you, but essential oils don’t just smell lovely, they can be utilized to freshen indoor air too! Lavender, Peppermint, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ginger and even Cilantro can be turned into a safe room spray. Simply add 12 drops of the oil to half a cup of vinegar and one and a half cups of water. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle, shake well, and spray!

New Vacuum:  It’s recommended that you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as these filters act as a sieve for the vast majority of particles, and ensure the dust being picked up is not rereleased into the air.

Plants: Not only are plants aesthetically pleasing, they offer the side benefit of reducing formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins in the air. Be wary of buying a plant that’s toxic for furry creatures. Experts suggest that proper air cleaning can happen with one or more plants per 100 square feet of home space.

Air Purifier:  These remove allergens, dangerous particles and odors. Asthma and allergy-prone people will especially notice the difference if you have one or more in your home. It’s recommended to have one in each bedroom as well as in the main living areas. Most purifiers can work effectively for 600 square feet of space.

Proper air filtration is essential for breathing cleaner indoor air. Mechanical filters are the most common types of filters used in HVAC systems. They are also highly efficient and require minimal maintenance. The most important aspect of these filters is the mechanical efficiency rating value (MERV). Although it’s a great to change your filter on a regular basis, it’s equally important to check the MERV rating on the mechanical air filter you purchase.  Here are more details about the MERV ratings.

What is a MERV rating?

MERV ratings are a scale based on a rigorous testing procedure developed by an organization called ASHRAE. The scale was intended to measure the performance and efficacy of mechanical air filters. MERV ratings range from 1-16, with 16 being the highest rating.The higher ratings indicate the filter’s capacity to capture the particles in the air. The human body has a built-in MERV rating of 8. Any rating above that is helpful to the human body.

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Less particles leads to cleaner air and higher HVAC efficiency. In the long run, you’ll also save money and energy knowing that your air filter is performing at its maximum capacity. We can’t always be sure if the air filters in our HVAC systems are running properly. That’s why it’s helpful to invest in the right products and services that will keep you and your family healthy and safe all year round! If you have any questions or you would like to learn more about our mechanical air filters, please reach out to our professionals at Comfort Plus ClimateCARE by calling (519) 658-6441. We’ll help you to find the right products for your filtration needs.