Photo: Fa J. Mahaudomchab / Adobe Stock
When the weather turns colder, we lock our houses up tight
. While this is great for our comfort and excellent for our heating bill
, it’s not so ideal for the air quality inside our homes. Fortunately, there are several savvy strategies to stay cozy and breathe easier.
1. Spot Ventilation
Local or “spot” ventilation helps reduce the amount of pollutants released and prevents their movement to the rest of your house. While you may not realize it, cooking emissions can be mildly toxic. A range hood directs steam and vapors outside your home.
2. Air-to-Air Heat Exchanger
An air-to-air heat exchanger (also called a heat recovery ventilator or HRV) mechanically ventilates and dehumidifies homes in colder climates
. During the winter it transfers heat from the air being exhausted to the fresh outside air entering a home. Air-to-air heat exchangers can be installed as part of a central heating-and-cooling system or in walls or windows. Wall- and window-mounted units resemble air conditioners and will ventilate one room or area.
3. Conventional or Mechanical Furnace Filters
These filters are coated with a viscous substance to collect dust, lint and fibers. These range from low to high efficiency in ability and capacity for filtering pollutants from the air. Clean or replace the filters as needed.
4. Electronic Furnace Filters (Air Cleaners)
Air is cleaned as it moves through a series of mechanical filters and electronically charged plates, chambers or filters that hold dust like a magnet. These are more efficient in removing pollutants from the air than conventional filters.
One of the simplest ways to ventilate your home is also the cheapest: open a window. When heating and cooling requirements are low, opening windows — especially when you can achieve cross ventilation — will reduce moisture and odors and expel indoor toxins.