Americans spend most of their time indoors, especially during the winter. Research shows that in some cases indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air in the summer time and as much as 10 times when the house is closed up in the winter! So while everyone is curled up indoors with a good book avoiding the winter chill — keep your home healthy with a few simple tips.
- Check furnace filters. They should be replaced every three months, so if you have not changed yours recently, it may be time for a fresh filter.
- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working. Check batteries and replace if needed. Install a detector (or two) if you don’t have one.
- Store toxic chemicals like paint and pesticides safely outside of your house. Ideally, these products should be stored in an area that is not adjacent to your home, but if that isn’t possible, try a dry, well-ventilated garage or other storage space.
- Make sure gutters, chimneys, and air ducts are cleaned.
- Stay dry. Wet weather outdoors often makes for damp clothing, carpets, and other fabrics indoors. Keep mold and mildew out of your home by thoroughly drying these items.
- Reduce your use of toxic cleaning products and chemical sprays. With windows closed to keep the heat in, your home may be less ventilated than in spring and summer months. This is a good time to switch to less toxic cleaning products, a healthier choice year round. Visit the Environmental Working Group for suggestions: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners.
- Keep fans running. It may be too cold to run outside, but don’t forget to run bath fans while bathing and for at least 2 hours after to keep mold and mildew out of your bathroom. Be sure to run range hoods as well to keep moisture from accumulating in your kitchen while cooking.
Help keep your home is healthier for you and your family. Being aware of possible hazards and taking proper action can prevent illness and an unhealthy environment in your home this winter.
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