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Winterizing And Allergies

Every year, millions of families winterize their home. By filling in all the little gaps and cracks that allow heat to seep out, you���re able to save some money on your heating bills, which is always a good thing. But did you know that there is such a thing as winterizing your home too much? Well, there is and it can be harming your and your family���s health.

What���s in Your Air
It is easy to become so concerned about excess air leaking from your home in the winter that sometimes you end up forgetting that there are some things that should escape, like pet dander, dust and smoke. Additionally, the warmer temperatures serve as a breeding ground for dust mites, cockroaches, rodents, fleas, ticks, moths and moulds. The build up of all these allergens and pollutants can create some serious health hazards for the occupants in your home.

Indoor winter air can be anywhere from two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. In some cases, the air can be up to 100 times more polluted! Since people generally spend significantly more time indoors during the colder months (as much as 90% of our time is spent inside during winter), this poor indoor air quality is especially troublesome, particularly for young children, seniors and those who suffer from allergies and asthma.

If you���re still not convinced that the air in your home is that bad, then consider this: in the United States, indoor air quality is listed as one of the top five environmental risks to the public health by the Environmental Protection Agency. While allergens are always present in your home air, many people find that their symptoms get worse in the winter since they become shut in with all the pollutants. So what can you do about it?

Healthy Home Air Tips
While you may be tempted to avoid winterizing your home this year, there is no reason why you should skip it. Just follow these tips to make sure the air you breathe in your warm, toasty home is clean.

  • To prevent moisture and mould from building up in the bathroom and kitchen, use fans or open a window
  • Using a dehumidifier can also help reduce the amount of moisture in the air
  • Doing a thorough cleaning of your home on a regular weekly basis will help cut back on allergens
  • Use a cleaner that will destroy mould in the kitchen and bathroom
  • When vacuuming, vacuum in two directions with the second direction being 90�� to the first direction
  • Have all your fuel-burning appliances, like the water heater, checked annually to make sure it is working in peak form
  • Replace your furnace filter every two to three months
  • Use a high efficiency filter. These can capture up to 30 times more allergens compared to the standard fiberglass filter
  • Make sure your furnace fan is always on; your furnace filter can���t catch any allergens if the fan is not on
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor of your home
  • To reduce carbon monoxide levels in your home, make sure any and all gas cooking appliances are vented to the outdoors
  • If you are burning wood in your fireplace, crack open a window to help fresh air get in
  • Dust mites are found in the highest concentration in the bedroom, so make sure all your bed coverings are allergen proof and that you wash them once a week in hot water
  • If possible, remove items that may make your allergens worse, like carpets and rugs

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