In today's blog post, we discuss four steps to a healthier home this coming winter.
Throughout the year, your home goes through a lot. Seasonal changes, severe weather, age, normal wear and tear, animal and insect activity and other factors cause damage that can affect how healthy and comfortable you and your family are while indoors. Here are some ways to keep your home warm, cozy and healthy this winter.
Step One: Prevent Water Leaks
Excess moisture contributes to poor indoor air quality in homes and should be avoided. Clean gutters and downspouts. Accumulated debris can cause water to infiltrate along your roofline. Clogged downspouts prevent water from being properly diverted away from the soil around your house, causing water infiltration at the foundation.
Caulk windows and doors. Small amounts of water seeping in around windows and doors can cause major damage from mold, wood rot and pest infiltration. Take a look at all entry points of utility pipes and wires. Sometimes birds, squirrels, bats and other creatures large and small will use your home as a nesting area, and they will use these locations to gain entry. Remember safety first and call a professional if there are issues near electrical wires.
Step Two: Prevent Air Leaks
Heat and energy loss represents a big portion of your energy bills. Most of this is lost through doors and windows or poorly insulated attics. Check weather stripping around doors and windows. As rubber and foam ages it becomes brittle and loses its ability to seal properly. Remove and replace old weather stripping. A few small air leaks can add up to a lot of heat loss.
Add or repair insulation in the attic and on ductwork. Any insulation that may have been removed for repairs or maintenance should placed back into proper position. Damaged duct insulation reduces efficiency and may lead to condensation, another source of moisture intrusion. Adding another layer of insulation is a great way to make your home more comfortable and save money.
Step Three: Improve Indoor Air Quality
Now that your home is buttoned up nice and tight, you need to pay attention to the quality of the air inside. Since indoor air tends to be more polluted than outdoor air, it makes sense to do everything that you can to keep your home healthy. Make sure your house is breathing properly by getting your HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) system inspected and serviced. If you have a forced air system, the inspector should check the heat exchangers, ducts, blower and plenums for damage, contamination, debris or mold.
This is a great time of year to have your ducts professionally cleaned to remove contamination and pollutants such as pollen, dust, human and pet dander and mold spores. Change furnace filters monthly using pleated, high efficiency replacement filters or better.
Kitchen and bath exhaust fans are also an important, often overlooked part of your indoor air quality system. Check and clean filters. Make sure the ducting is in tact, exhausting outside and not into attics or wall cavities where excess moisture can cause mold or wood rot. Don’t forget dryer vents, which can become a fire hazard if they build up too much lint.
Step Four: Maintain a Healthy Condition
Winter is the time of year when families spend more time indoors. Curling up together watching a movie on the sofa or sprawled out playing games on the carpet make the cold weather outside seem like it’s miles away. Throughout the year, soils, pollutants and contaminants build up in your carpet and upholstery, creating an unhealthy condition. Vacuum carpet frequently using a vacuum with good filtration. It is also a great idea to vacuum your upholstered furniture too.
Eventually soils, oils, pollutants and other undesirable contaminants build up, and you can’t just vacuum it away. You may not be able to see it because carpet and upholstery are designed to hide lots of body oils, dead skin, dust mites and dust mite feces and other settled and attached soils before they begin to look dirty.
That’s why this is a great time to have Kleenrite professionally clean your carpet and upholstery. Not only will your home look, smell and feel clean and fresh, you and your family will breathe easier knowing that your home is a healthy home. Call KleenRite today at (217) 351-4930.