The cooler the weather gets, the more time families will spend snuggled into their homes and battening down the hatches against Winter. The extra time spent together can be enjoyable, but there’s nothing fun about what all the family togetherness is doing to your home’s air.
See, you’re probably aware of the dangers of pollution, smog, and allergens outside your home – but you may not know that your indoor air has the potential to be even more dangerous. The issue has become so pressing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to address it with special studies.
EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.
Irritated eyes, nose, and throat are some of the first indicators of poor indoor air quality. Since these symptoms can also accompany colds, the flu, or viruses, it’s important to pay attention to when and where the symptoms begin. Don’t be afraid to play detective. Dust or dirt around heating or air vents, on ceilings or stained walls should alert you that there is a problem.
Read more about your home’s indoor air quality on our Facebook Page to make sure you breathe easy this winter.
By the time the cold winds start to blow, it is too late to worry about whether or not your home is ready for the cold winter ahead. What’s done is done, and what’s not done – well, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in home repair. Luckily there’s no time like the present to make sure you’re prepared before your hindsight kicks in…
- Have your heating system cleaned and tuned. A pre-season tune-up is a good investment – it reduces the chances of breakdowns in the middle of winter, improves safety, and pays for itself through more energy efficient operation.
- Test your system for hazardous carbon monoxide, which can be produced by a dirty or malfunctioning furnace or water heater. We can also install a low level carbon monoxide alarm.
- Have your duct system tested for air leaks. According to recent research by the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical duct system loses 25 to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heater or air conditioner.
- Get your home’s air checked to find out if the air you breathe is unhealthy. Your indoor air can be much more polluted than what is outside, and with all the time spent indoors during the winter, you’ll want to ensure your family’s health, safety and comfort.
- Consider replacing your old furnace or heat pump. Just like a car, heating equipment doesn’t last forever. If your system is more than 12 years-old, and you are planning to stay in your home more than a few years, it is wise to consider replacing it before it fails permanently. A new system is safer, more dependable, and can pay for itself through energy savings as it is up to twice as energy efficient.