Winter is one of the worst times of year for indoor air quality. Your family huddles inside a tightly sealed home, and it feels cozy being protected during the colder months of the year. 

However, stale indoor air and heating systems can increase the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores circulating through your house. Combine this with the absence of fresh air flowing from the outside, and you’ve trapped pollutants and moisture inside. 

As these unwelcome guests continuously cycle through your home during winter months, the concentration of contaminants in the air increases. 

People sensitive to indoor allergens or have respiratory problems can fall victim to this compromised quality of air. Long-term exposure to indoor airborne contaminants can also cause cancer and increase the risk of heart disease.

Here are some tips to help you improve the air in your home during Chicago’s winter months:

Pay Attention to Air Filters

Even with regular dusting and cleaning, various particles, such as dust, dirt, and debris, inevitably find their way into your heating system. Air filters are the front line of defense against pollutants. 

But, to do the job well, they must be regularly maintained particularly in winter when the heating unit is running almost all the time. Filters generally need to be cleaned or replaced at least every 90 days.

Consider Upgrading Filters

Consult with your HVAC technician to determine if it’s possible and cost-effective to switch to filters with a higher filtration efficiency rating. A higher quality filter may capture submicron particles causing health problems.

Have Your Ductwork Cleaned

While air vents, registers, and air filters are relatively easy to access and clean or change, remember debris also accumulates inside your ductwork over time.

Routine cleaning and maintenance helps reduce the presence of these airborne irritants, while also extending your HVAC system’s useful life. Schedule a professional duct cleaning service, and follow up with this service at least every three to five years.

Maintain Proper Indoor Humidity

It’s not just polluted indoor air that can cause discomfort and illness. The extreme dryness of Chicago winter air also contributes. 

Humidity plays a crucial role in air quality and, according to the EPA, should be maintained between 30 and 50 percent. Cold air holds less moisture, so increasing humidity in the winter will help the air feel warmer. And, such an increase will help prevent worsening allergy and asthma symptoms, headaches, dry throats and nasal passages, skin irritation, and sinus congestion. 

Consider discussing with your HVAC technician the installation of a whole-house humidifier to help you and your family enjoy warmer, cleaner, and more comfortable air during heating season.

Provide Sufficient Ventilation

While sealing the home helps trap warm air in and cold air out, it also makes it difficult to provide ventilation. 

Opening windows and turning on fans once a week may be a good idea, but we all know that’s not always realistic given our Chicago winters.

Air exchangers boost air quality by managing humidity levels and removing stale, dirty air while simultaneously providing fresh, filtered air from the outside.

Consider Using an Air Purifier

If someone in your family is allergic to indoor allergens and you’re struggling to control the source of the problem; for example, you’re unwilling to give up your family pet, it may help to use an air purifier. 

Placed in the most commonly used areas in your home, these devices, in particular, ionic air purifiers, can help capture irritants triggering symptoms. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to remove allergens completely, but you can help the problem by minimizing them.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Routine maintenance from a professional HVAC technician ensures your system runs with optimal efficiency, safety, and performance. The technician can also detect and repair possible issues before they grow into major problems down the road.

People can spend up to 90% of their time cooped up indoors during the winter months. This is all the more reason to be as prepared as possible to fight those irritating and harmful pollutants during this winter.

We Help Homeowners

Flader Plumbing and Heating is uniquely suited to assist you in determining the solution that best fits your home and family’s needs. We’ve been serving your neighbors and our community for over 100 years and 4 generations. 

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Whether you need a new faucet, water heater, or are looking to protect the air quality of your home, we are knowledgeable and provide expert service. Our professional technicians arrive on time, listen to your concerns, and answer your questions. They will recommend the right solution and deliver as promised.

Flader technicians average 15 years of experience and are EPA certified.

Expert service, quality parts, and satisfaction guaranteed. There is no reason to compromise. Call us at 847-491-6980. 

Doug Flader

Doug Flader, a fourth-generation leader at Flader Plumbing & Heating Co., upholds the company's long-standing tradition of excellence. While continuing to provide top-quality plumbing and heating services to Libertyville, Mundelein, and Vernon Hills, Doug proudly takes care of his community by supporting local youth programs around the Chicagoland area.

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