Do you find yourself dreading the onset of winter, with its dry air and ever-present germs?
When a coworker coughs, do you duck under your desk for cover? When a family member does the same, are you tempted to bark orders to “cover your mouth when you cough?”
This is only natural, of course. No one likes to get sick! But in many ways, it can also seem like the weather and our own homes and workplaces are conspiring against our immune system, setting us up for failure.
Luckily, you don’t have to just throw up your hands and join the coughing chorus going on all around you. There are some simple ways to keep the air you rely on fresh and clean so you have the best chance of staying healthy all winter long.
Call in (Green) Reinforcements
Did you know that many indoor air quality experts call plants “nature’s lungs?” This compliment is fairly earned by the green living things quietly growing all around us.
After all, their “air” is our waste matter and vice versa. Where we breathe oxygen, they breathe carbon dioxide. So a houseplant sitting innocently on the windowsill is busy sucking all that extra carbon dioxide out of your indoor air and emitting oxygen (its waste matter) back into the air inside your home.
If you are not sure which plants will be easy to care for and do a great job keeping your indoor air fresh and full of oxygen, we think you will love this blog post: “Top Ten Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality.”
Open a Window, Then Open a Door
When the temperatures begin to drop, chances are good the last thing you think of doing is opening a window! Brrrrr!
But finding a way to bring some fresh outdoor air inside your home is critical for both air circulation and ventilation, especially if you are living in new construction, which is famous for its airtight building models.
Happily, there is a way to open a window to circulate and ventilate without spending twice as much on heating or sending your freezing, irritated family running to the opposite corners of the house.
Here is what to do:
- Turn your furnace thermostat to “off.”
- Pick one room that has at least one or two windows.
- Close off the heat vents and the door in that room.
- Open up the windows in that room.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer buzzes, return to the room.
- Close the windows, then open the door to release the fresh air into the rest of your home.
- Turn your furnace back on as desired.
You can repeat this process as often as you like. It can be a good idea to rotate which room you use to let the fresh outside air in, since this is also a good time to check and (if necessary) clean each room’s air registers.
Swap Out Chemical Air Scents for Natural Air Fresheners
From spray air fresheners to odor absorbing gel beads, vent clips to candles, there have never before been so many ways to introduce irritating and sometimes toxic chemicals into your indoor air supply.
Most of these commercial chemical-based products have lengthy lists of unpronounceable ingredients. Even worse, most are designed to mask or cover up whatever the odor of the moment is by layering on another, thicker scent on top of it.
This isn’t doing your home or your nostrils any favors. If you’ve ever popped open a new air freshener and immediately felt a headache or a sneeze coming on, your body already knows this is the truth.
The best way to keep your already dry, already close indoor air as fresh as possible during the cold season is to toss those chemical products and use these all-natural air fresheners instead:
- Pour a bit of your favorite essential oil along with a carrier oil (olive, almond, jojoba) into a small container and add a few long fresh twigs to diffuse the scent all throughout the room (repeat for multiple rooms). You can also use a diffuser with 100% pure essential oils.
- Cut a fresh lemon or orange in half and then in half again. Grind up one of the quarters in the garbage disposal for a fresh citrus scent.
- Place half a fresh lemon, a small dish of baking soda or some used coffee grounds in the fridge to soak up odors.
- Fill a small bowl with white or apple cider vinegar to soak up airborne odors.
- Boil a pot of water, then add a cinnamon stick and a few cloves for a lovely holiday scent.
Clean Your Air Ducts for Year-Round Indoor Air Freshness
We love talking with our clients a day after we’ve come to their homes or workplaces to do a professional indoor air duct cleaning.
Often, they are at a loss for words to describe just how fresh and clean their indoor air smells. Some say they can actually almost taste how clean the air is!
The truth is, any area of your home that is neglected for five or 10 years would likely have a similar effect on your indoor air quality and freshness, not to mention odor.
But whereas you would notice a countertop encrusted with a decade’s worth of dust and debris, you can’t see your air ducts, so you forget they need cleaning too!
Give Us a Call
Give us a call at 905-544-2470 to save 20 percent on indoor air quality equipment, schedule your indoor air duct cleaning, balance your indoor air humidity levels, and purify airborne germs and toxins so you stay healthy all winter long!