With temps that make open-air ventilation impractical—if not impossible—winter turns many of us into seasonal shut-ins. Our house-ridden status also makes us a captive audience for indoor pollutants—typically two to five, but in some cases 100 times greater than the outdoors*.
Take the lead in protecting your abode from potential indoor pollutants by knowing what to watch for and how to prepare. Tackle the items on this list to get started on your noble quest for cleaner indoor air quality.
Carbon monoxide shows up in fumes from cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges and furnaces. Once inside, the gas can build up and fatally harm the people and animals that breathe it.
Most air filters need a swap at least every 90 days. Filtrete™ Healthy Living Air Filters capture 90 percent of large particles like allergens, including mold and pet dander. Healthy Living Filters also trap dust, smoke, smog, bacteria and virus-carrying particles.
This isn’t a DIY task. Have a professional check that your jets don’t leak and gas burns cleanly.
The second leading cause of lung cancer, radon forms naturally when certain minerals in the earth break down**. Radon can rise through cracks in buildings and homes, poisoning both people and animals. Look for a radon test kit at your local home improvement store.
If you must keep solvents and harsh cleaners on hand, make a careful chemical inventory and follow proper storage methods.
Never turn on a gas stove to heat your home. Similarly, never use camping stoves or generators indoors where they can create smoke or introduce other harmful particulates to your space.
Decorative candles can add to the overall soup of indoor chemical compounds, especially in small spaces. Additionally, some pine- and citrus-scented products create formaldehyde when exposed to ozone***. If you enjoy scented products, try a Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener in vanilla. It’ll provide up to 30 days of slow-release scented air to multiple rooms through your home’s air vents.
To prevent re-suspension of particles (soil, pollen, cockroach allergens, animal dander, etc.) from carpets and floors use a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner, and mop hardwood and tile floors frequently.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there’s little evidence to support routine air duct cleaning. However, if ducts appear dirty or you know you’ve got critters running around in them, clean away. Regardless of your air duct cleaning habits, the EPA recommends reading up on the pros and cons of any biocide or sealant application contractors might propose****.
Keep in mind new furniture, paint strippers and other household products can be sources of indoor pollutants*****. Avoid building and home improvement materials that contain formaldehyde, including pressed wood or laminates and pressed drapes******. And consider switching to natural or green cleaning products that won’t add harsh chemicals to your indoor mix.