According to the EPA, the concentration of indoor air pollutants in homes can be two to five times higher than typical outdoor levels. As the seasons change, so do the things that affect indoor air quality. In today’s post, local heating and AC repair company Schmitt discusses common indoor air quality challenges during the winter season.
1. Dryness. Low temperatures cause dry air. This is why dry skin, cracked lips and eye irritation are common during the winter. Dry air can also dry out the nasal passages and increase susceptibility to allergies and viruses in some people. Fortunately, the solution is straightforward — simply run a dehumidifier. Use a hygrometer to keep an eye on relative indoor humidity levels, which should be around 50% or so.
2. Pet dander. If you have pets living indoors, dry winter air will affect their skin, too. Dander is your pets’ dead skin cells that are shed like dandruff, which can cause stuffiness in the nose and itchy, watery eyes. One way to prevent dander and shedding is to brush and groom your pets regularly — but don’t bathe them too often, as this can cause their skin to overproduce oil.
3. Pollutants from wood stoves. Wood or coal-burning heating systems generate indoor air pollutants that can cause health problems if they’re not vented properly. Of particular concern is carbon monoxide (CO), which is produced by burning wood or coal. If the chimney or flue is blocked or damaged, CO can leak into your living areas. In addition to having a heating repair contractor perform regular chimney inspections, have CO detectors installed throughout the house.
4. Not replacing the air filters. The air filters in your HVAC system trap indoor air pollutants and help maintain good indoor air quality. A typical whole-home HVAC system may need a new air filter once a month during seasons of heavy use, like the winter. Not changing old, clogged air filters will result in indoor air pollutants recirculating indoors. Air filters are user-replaceable, which means you can replace them yourself without needing assistance from an HVAC technician.
Call Schmitt for All Your HVAC Needs
Schmitt is your leading provider of HVAC repair and installation services. Give us a call at (415) 689-7849. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in San Francisco and the surrounding communities.