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Preparing Your Home for Spring

Spring flowers blowing in the wind
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Spring is the time to tackle the clutter, deep clean, and organize your home. By the time you’re done, your house will look amazing, but your indoor air quality will still be filthy.

In addition to your other spring-cleaning chores, making improving your indoor air quality a priority. Your house will smell better and you’ll feel healthier.

Here’s how.

Change Your Air Filter

Even if your air filter isn't in dire need of changing, upgrading will still leave you with several benefits. As you shop for a filter, pay close attention to the MERV rating. According to the EPA, a MERV rating indicates a filter's ability to trap particles. A higher number indicates higher performance. There are number ratings between one and 16. Also, a HEPA design can help block up to 99.97% of the following particles:

  • Pollen

  • Bacteria

  • Mold

According to the EPA, a good HEPA filter can block airborne particles that are .3 microns or larger.

Add House Plants

Through photosynthesis, plants absorb light, water, and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. Humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. This means that plants can create a healthy cycle of turning the carbon dioxide that you breathe out in your home into valuable oxygen. According to studies, plants can also boost your mood and reduce particulate matter. If you have a dust allergy, anxiety, or a mood disorder, plants may be especially helpful to you. These are some examples of plants that may boost your mood and help remove toxins from the air:

  • Snake plant

  • Bamboo

  • Ficus

  • Peace lily

  • English ivy

As long as these plants are in the correct pot and soil, they are easy to care for. Be sure to follow the sunlight exposure and watering suggestions.

Open Your Windows

During many spring days, the outdoor temperature is mild. You can turn off your HVAC system and enjoy the fresh air. If you have a larger home with fewer windows, you may want to add a fan in front of one or two of them to help circulate the air. Before you do this, check your screens to ensure that there are not any tears or holes that will let in pests.

Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds

According to the EPA, VOCs are organic substances that become vapors or gases that could be harmful to your health. In your home, these are just a few of many examples of VOC-emitting substances that you can cut back on or eliminate:

  • Glues

  • Paints and thinners

  • Moth repellants

  • Air fresheners

  • Adhesives

  • Solvents

  • Cigarettes

  • Printers and copiers

Research other household VOC-emitting substances to see if any others apply to you.

User Gentler Scents

Perfumes, spray fresheners, candles, and other scented household items can contain chemicals and harmful substances that circulate in the air. However, you can still enjoy pleasant smells in your home without chemicals. Here are a few substitution suggestions:

  • Use all-natural beeswax candles instead of paraffin-based candles.

  • For smell and anti-congestion benefits, hang eucalyptus in the shower instead of using aerosol air fresheners.

  • Instead of buying perfumes or sprays with chemicals, choose products with all-natural ingredients.

  • Instead of buying potpourri that has chemicals, make your own with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and dried orange peels or aromatic wood chips.

Although some of these products may be more expensive, most of them tend to last longer and have high-quality scents.

Schedule a Professional Duct Cleaning

The EPA provides information that dispels any misconceptions about duct cleaning. As it states, while duct cleaning as a universal practice has not been shown to prevent health problems for all people, it may help in some circumstances. These are some examples that the EPA provides:

  • There is visible mold growing in the ducts.

  • The ducts are clogged with debris or dirt that the registers release.

  • Pests are coming from the ducts.

If you suspect that your ducts have mold or debris buildup in them, you may not always be able to see the problem. Some of the places where these substances accumulate are not accessible. If you can't recall the last time the ducts were inspected, a professional should check your system to see if the ducts need to be cleaned. Professionals may also be able to find hard-to-detect mold. Damaged ducts may need to be repaired or replaced.

Another solution for finding specific ways to improve your air quality is to request an indoor air quality assessment. A professional can evaluate your home and make suggestions, including a special management plan or a fresh air system. With improved air quality, you can enjoy better sleep, easier breathing, minimized mold risks and many other benefits. To schedule your appointment with DG Heating & Air Conditioning, call (408) 669-3496.

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