For many people, spring feels like a breath of fresh air after the oppressive weather commonly found over the winter months. However, while the air outside may feel crisp and clear, as a homeowner, you may begin to wonder about how the change in seasons has affected your indoor air quality.
Many households experience diminished air quality during the spring and early summer due to the residual effects of winter and the increasing temperatures. In this blog, we discuss the most common springtime threats to your indoor air quality and how you can best address these issues.
When you start to check items off of your spring cleaning checklist, one of the substances you'll find on almost every surface you clean is dust. Because winter conditions can make it more difficult to access certain areas of homes, dust often has more of an opportunity to build up.
This principle holds particularly true for the portions of your home that most determine air quality: your HVAC components such as ductwork. Air conditioners can be particularly affected by dust buildup in the spring because the units have sat dormant for months.
To reduce the amount of dust in your air, have your air conditioning unit and ducts professionally cleaned.
As you complete your spring cleaning checklist, you may use a range of chemicals from glass cleaner to wall paint. Many of these chemicals release fumes that can be harmful when breathed in.
Specifically, household chemicals like paint can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can trigger allergic or asthma reactions, dizziness, headaches, and respiratory health issues.
In addition to opening your windows when working in close quarters, use your household ventilation system to remove harmful fumes. Additionally, you may want to put replacing your air filters at the top of your to-do list to ensure that your climate system removes as many foreign particles as possible.
The humidity level of your air can have a significant impact on its quality. Unfortunately, in the spring your humidity may fluctuate widely between low humidity caused by your heating system and high humidity related to seasonal storms.
An HVAC expert may recommend that you use a whole-home humidifier, dehumidifier, or both to keep your indoor humidity at optimal levels.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity in the United States typically peaks in the late winter months. During this time frame, every member of your family and visitor of your household may leave bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens on the surfaces of your home.
Additionally, spring's high moisture levels can contribute to mold developing and can lead to spores circulating in your indoor air.
As you perform spring cleaning and begin running your air conditioner for the first time in the year, you may stir up these microbes and inadvertently increase the likelihood of illness.
Experts recommend that homeowners who are concerned about microbes, especially those who are caregivers for young children or individuals with autoimmune conditions, invest in air purifiers that use filtration to remove large particles and UV light to neutralize remaining pathogens.
Many homeowners find their houses smelling a little musty or stale after winter. You may feel tempted to fill the space with pleasant scents from candles and air fresheners. However, these items can be as harmful to your indoor air quality as VOCs.
Many artificially scented items contain phthalates, a type of contaminant that can cause headaches, nausea, and other symptoms with excessive exposure.
The best way to avoid phthalates in your home is by checking all scented products, including personal care and cleaning solutions, for phthalates. Unscented and organic products are less likely to contain high levels of phthalates and may have less of an effect on your indoor air quality.
Like dust, pollen can gather on any surface of your home during the springtime and, like pathogens, pollen can be stirred up during normal activities and cause adverse reactions. Pollen can infiltrate your home in a number of ways.
You can reduce the amount of pollen in your air by taking off your shoes on the porch or in the entryway and using a HEPA-rated vacuum cleaner frequently.
You should also have a qualified HVAC technician check your system for any leaks and replace your air filters to reduce the levels of contamination. In some cases, you may want to add a secondary filtration system, like an air scrubber. These systems can be particularly useful in households where one or more person has severe allergies or respiratory issues.
Use the guidelines listed above to ensure that the air inside your home is just as clean and clear at the air after spring showers. For personalized recommendations based on your climate, home size, and current HVAC system specifications, schedule a consultation with an experienced HVAC technician.
For comprehensive HVAC services, including indoor air quality management measures, trust the expert team at TemperaturePro.