Winter air can be a difficult time for your lungs, not only because the air is dry but also in Utah because it is a time when there can be a lot of air pollution. Inversion layers trap pollution in the valleys and can make air quality numbers suffer significantly. For those with asthma, allergies, or other lung sensitivities, this can make breathing very difficult even indoors. While there isn’t always much you can do about the poor air quality outdoors (except stay inside), there are things you can do to make sure the air in your home is as healthy as possible in winter and all year round. Here are three ways to improve air quality indoors.
1: Replace your furnace filters regularly
Furnace filters are designed to trap particulate matter before it enters your home so it won’t circulate through your vents. Unfortunately your furnace filter won’t work the way it should if you don’t switch it out regularly to remove the dirty, clogged filters with clean ones. Furnace filters should be replaced about every three months, around the beginning, middle, and end of the winter months (October, January, and April). If your home is exposed to a lot of dirt and dust—for example, you live near active construction sites—then you should replace it more often.
2: Vacuum and mop more often
The carpets and floors in your home attract dust and dirt, as well as other undesirable things like bacteria. While it’s not realistic to get them professionally cleaned all the time to keep those things from building up, it is important to vacuum and mop more often to keep those things from building up through the winter. Make sure to add vacuuming and mopping to your weekly cleaning schedule—or more often if you have someone in your home who is particularly sensitive to poor air quality.
3: Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
In addition to vacuuming regularly, it’s also important to have a quality vacuum that you can use to filter out airborne allergens, pollen, dust, and debris. The easiest way to do that is with a HEPA filter in your vacuum. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are designed to trap these pollutants and are far more effective than any other at-home cleaning options. The filter also ensures that your vacuum won’t release allergens back into the air after you clean them up, which can immediately nullify all your cleaning efforts (and even make the air more harmful to those with sensitive respiratory systems).