More than likely you’ve made moves to close up your home for the fall and winter season. The windows are shut tight and you’ve traded in your short-sleeved t-shirts for comfy sweats and the warmth of your homes heated air. Yes, we are all thankful for a well-running furnace this time of year.
However, have you ever stopped to think that closing up your home might keep the cold air out, but lock germs, odors, and toxins in? Have you ever asked yourself if those persistent cold and allergy symptoms could be caused by your house? Here are some tips the pros know will improve the air you breathe while you are keeping warm indoors this season.
1. Drive out the dust: Dust and vacuum regularly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent dirt from blowing back into the air. Vacuuming regularly is the key to controlling allergy and asthma triggers (especially dust mites and pet dander.) To really trap the dust, use damp rags or microfiber cloths when cleaning. Don’t forget to dust baseboards, the tops of window and door trim as well as your blinds. Vacuum drapes and curtains and be sure to keep pillows and cushions clean of dust as well.
2. Know the right time to mop. When dusting your home, don’t forget to mop afterwards. The amount of dust that vacuums leave behind can be shocking! Dirt and dust can be kicked up by your vacuum as well so it’s, so it’s best to mop your hard surface floors after vacuuming to get any remaining dirt. You should also wipe down any other hard surfaces after vacuuming. To really clean efficiently, vacuum first, dust second and mop third.
3. Mats make the difference. Did you know that a simple floor mat placed at your exterior doors will cut down on excess dirt, debris, and mud? To save time on floor cleaning, encourage your family members to go shoeless in the house. You may even be surprised if your guests automatically remove their shoes when they see your’s lined up by the door.
4. Filters are your friends. When was the last time you changed your air filter? An air filter is important for trapping dust, germs and allergens. But, it also keeps your furnace and A/C running efficiently. House heating and cooling filters should be changed at least every three months. If you have allergy sufferers in your house, try changing them more frequently.
5. Green clean or bust. If you are going to do your best to beat dirt and dust at its game, it’s important to know what toxins your home cleaners might be adding to your home’s air. A simple look at the label can give you some indications on if the cleanser is “green” or “clean.” Try to avoid harsh detergents, bleaches, and cleansers. You may also want to be on the lookout for heavy fragrances. Look for natural cleaners that rely on fruit extracts and oils to do the trick.
6. Exhaust that air. Always run the bathroom exhaust fan during and after a shower. An exhaust fan is instrumental in deterring mold from growing in your bathroom or on your towels. If your exhaust fan is old, noisy, or leaves windows and mirror fogged, you are due for a new one. Remember to clean the cover regularly.
7. Vent those vapors. Did you know that you should turn on your kitchen range hood a few minutes before you start cooking and leave it on fifteen minutes after you finish? A range hood will reduce cooking odors and remove excess heat and humidity from your home. Just be sure you remember to include your range hood in your cleaning routine. Use warm, soapy water and stay away from harsh cleaners.
8. How long are your vents? Check that your dryer duct is clear and that it vents properly outside the house. You’ll want to know how to clean your dryer duct to prevent fires and reduce humidity in your house. When cleaning the vent, investigate how long the vent is and where it exhausts. Dryer vents that exhaust into (and across) an unconditioned space can fill with moisture. As enough condensation builds up, it can prevent proper exhaust or worse case cause a leak. The maximum allowable length of a dryer exhaust is 25′ for an electric dryer, but you might shoot for a lesser amount to improve your dryer’s efficiency and allow for easier cleaning of your dryer duct. A handyman or general contractor should be able to offer solutions for shortening your dryer exhaust vent if it is too long.
9. Put some plants in your place. Buy a green plant to help filter your air. Houseplants act as natural air filters (in addition to looking pretty). Do not overwater your plant or you could inadvertently grow mold. If you have pets or children, talk to a local nursery to find plants that aren’t toxic.
Having the best air quality in your home means you can take a deep breath and relax that this season and every season, you are making a safe home for you and your family. At Fall Creek Homes, we strive for green building technology so that from the moment your house becomes a home, you are living in a quality and affordable home. Learn more on our website at www.homesbyfallcreek.com