Thanksgiving is this week, and the focus is usually on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for our family and friends; however, amidst the preparations, it's crucial not to overlook the quality of the air that they and we breathe. Maintaining clean and healthy indoor air is essential for the health and overall well-being of indoor occupants and guests, especially during gatherings when there may be increased activities and potential pollutants. We are going to provide some tips to ensure cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving and review how you can maintain your home’s indoor air quality during your celebration.
A Refresher on What Indoor Quality is
We have reviewed before what indoor air quality (IAQ) is and why it is important, but here is a brief refresher. Indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants (EPA). Poor indoor air quality has been linked to continued sickness, reduced productivity, and impaired learning and thought processes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates poor indoor air quality as an area of major concern, noting that common contaminants, endlessly redistributed by a central air system, can contribute to allergy symptoms and sickness. What’s in your home’s air directly impacts the IAQ.
As mentioned above, your home’s indoor air quality is important, because it can directly impact the health and well-being of the people who are in your home. There can be short-term and long-term effects. Immediate effects typically are similar to those of colds and other viral infections, while some long-term effects may include respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, and more. Basically, poor indoor air quality can really make people miserable and put a damper on your holiday celebrations, which is why having cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving will give you something to be extra thankful for.
Tips for Cleaner and Healthier Air this Thanksgiving
The holidays are a time for increased indoor air pollutants. This is because of added cooking and baking, increased household occupancy, windows being closed due to the weather, and more people going in and out potentially bringing in contaminants with them. When it comes to maintaining indoor air quality and having cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving, there are some things you can do. Let’s review.
- Keep Things Clean: Everything turns to dust one day. Before the Thanksgiving festivities begin, dedicate some time to clean your home thoroughly. Dust surfaces, vacuum carpets, and mop floors to eliminate dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. Keeping your home clean and dust free and tidying the place where you live helps maintain indoor air quality and creates a healthier environment for everyone.
- Ventilate: Another way to ensure cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving is to ventilate. When you are cooking or baking, turn on the exhaust fan. Also, even during colder months, it's beneficial to open your windows for a few minutes each day to allow fresh air to circulate. Proper ventilation helps remove stale air and toxins that may have accumulated indoors. Indoor air is typically several times poorer in quality than outdoor air, so let some of the outside in.
- Replace Your Air Filters: We have reviewed before just how important changing your home’s air filter is, and this is especially true during the holiday season. An unchanged and dirty or soiled air filter means that the HVAC system is spreading unclean, airborne particles throughout your North Bay Area home. Check your HVAC system's air filters before Thanksgiving to ensure they are clean and in good condition. Dirty and obstructed filters can harbor dust, lint, allergens, and other pollutants, reducing indoor air quality.
- Control Humidity Levels: Maintaining appropriate humidity levels is crucial for cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving. High humidity can encourage mold growth, while low humidity can cause dryness and discomfort. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50%. This will limit the growth of mold and the presence of dust mites that pollute the air. You can use a humidifier or dehumidifier to regulate humidity levels based on the weather conditions and your home's needs.
- Minimize Strong Odors: Thanksgiving often involves cooking a delicious feast, which can produce strong odors and cooking fumes. While the aromas are delightful, some odors can irritate the respiratory system. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen to remove cooking fumes and keep doors closed to prevent the spread of odors throughout the house. Also, avoid having tobacco smoke indoors and reduce the use of synthetic fragrances.
As you prepare to celebrate the season, prioritize the quality of the air in your home to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment. By following the above tips for cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving and being mindful of potential air pollutants, you can create better indoor air quality for a memorable gathering. Enjoy the festivities while breathing easy and knowing that you've taken steps to maintain your home’s excellent indoor air quality.
If you want to ensure that the air you and are family are breathing every day is safe, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. We can assess your current IAQ situation by performing a fast and easy air quality test that measures the level of particulate concentration in your air. We will then make recommendations based on our findings.
Let our comfort specialists help you breathe in clean indoor air. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.