Winter has arrived- North and South the temperatures have dipped and even warm locals as Florida and Arizona have evening temperatures that dip close to freezing. To stay warm and avoid wasting energy, what are the first things that smart homeowners do? You look for ways to restrict the cold air from coming in your home or apartment-not just closing doors and windows but sealing key areas where leaking may occur. This may include covering any cracks around doors and windows and adding special prevention films to minimize any cold area entering your home. But when those instincts kick in, remember that you are also doing is sealing air inside your home. A-1 Certified Environmental Services, LLC

But when you seal your house to increase the efficiency of your heating system, you may be surprised to learn that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air in our homes is often two-to-five times more polluted than the outdoor air.

Even for those without allergies or sensitive respiratory systems, it’s important to have a clean home. As you close your home for the cold months ahead, now is the perfect time to take some simple steps for fresher air. Industry experts say, “Considering the amount of time spent in the house, especially during winter, you should ensure that your home and indoor air are as clean as possible.”

The starting point is to have your furnace serviced every fall or early winter by a professional before you turn it. But even if it has been operating for a few months, have it thoroughly cleaned top to bottom by a HVAC professional.

Here are some tips to help keep homes clean and fresh.

  • Remove out the old furnace filter, vacuum the intake grill, and replace the filter regularly (at least once per month). A clean filter allows the furnace to run more efficiently and puts out cleaner air.
  • Dust and vacuum often. Consider using a vacuum with a built-in allergen or HEPA filter, which allows one to clean floors and surfaces while putting less dust back in the air (from the vacuum exhaust).
  • Filter allergens by changing the filters in your vacuum regularly, to reduce the amount of allergens and other particles released into the air. “Filtrete” vacuum filters, made by 3M, for example, have been shown to optimize vacuum durability and suction, keeping the home cleaner by trapping dust. The filters are available at many retailers, and for nearly all brands and models of vacuum cleaners.
  • When dusting, do so with microfiber towels and dusters. Such products attract dust, which cling to the fibers instead of simply becoming airborne or dropping back to the ground.
  • Ventilate the home. It may seem counterintuitive, but occasionally let the outside air in. On a nice day, briefly open windows (even for only 5 minutes). This helps indoor air circulate with outdoor air, and results in a fresher environment.
  • Go natural. Consider switching to natural and organic cleaning products that don’t release dangerous chemicals or materials into the home’s air.
  • Bathe and brush pets regularly. Pets’ coats are often loaded with dirt and dander that scatters around the house and can contribute to poor indoor air quality. To avoid this problem, brush and bathe pets regularly.
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