With the winter months creeping up on us so quickly, the doors and windows are soon going to be shut for good. Keeping the doors and windows shut for winter is the obvious way to keep the home warm, getting the most out of your central heating, and saving money, but having them shut for months on end can make some problems when other factors contribute. Pollution is everywhere, even in our own homes, but there is something we can do about it to keep our family healthy. Here are five of the most common household air issues that settle in behind closed doors.
Mold spores are sneaky, virtually invisible in the beginning, but can destroy your respiratory tract in a matter of weeks. Mold can grow almost anywhere, but the conditions have to be just right. Dark, damp areas with a steady warm temperature are the ideal place for mold to begin growing. Places like under the stairs, inside walls, and corners are all spots that mold is usually found in homes due to poor air flow. To help prevent spores, keep these areas very clean and dry as possible, let fresh air around them whenever possible and always check for signs of mold spores. If you’ve got a humidifier in the home, keep it away from cramped spaces, move it periodically, and avoid clutter the best you can.
Bugs and Spiders
Your home is the ideal spot for bugs to spend their winter, and they won’t hesitate to move right in. If you’ve sealed up your home good and tight, that means that no bugs are going to get inside, however it also means that none are going to get out. Families of fruit flies can spring up over night and before you know it, you have an entire infestation in your kitchen, spiders remain idle in the tall corners of your home, lay eggs, and let the tiny baby spiders run rampant in the home. The best way to stop the bugs is old fashioned cleaning. Right before you’re eady to close the door, give the house a good once over, check out the corners, under bookshelves and beds, and areas that don’t get opened often. If you want extra protection, Raid Seasonal Bug Spray blocks bugs from entering the home through cracks.
Radon is a natural radioactive gas that gets released when soil decays. Even in homes without basements, radon can still be a threat, so before anything, getting your home tested for radon poisoning is a good idea. Radon leaks up from the soil through cracks and even the foundation itself of your home, where it gets trapped in the walls of your home. This can cause issues in the winter months especially if you’ve got the home all sealed up, there’s no where for it to get released to. Since Radon is radioactive, when it’s breathed in and gets inside your lungs, it creates bursts of energy that damage the tissue and is linked to types of lung cancer. However, the good news is that homes with radon can be fixed, but only once they’ve been tested, so if you haven’t already, get your home tested for radon.
So, the big question is, once I’ve got my home sealed up, what am I going to do about my cleaning supplies? The chemicals in household cleaning agents can be very dangerous if inhaled or ingested, and cleaning with these products is best done with the doors and windows wide open to keep the fumes moving. But when the snow is blowing, we can’t exactly prop open the screen door and start scrubbing the floors, can we? The best way to avoid this is to switch over to a more mild cleaning agent, and only use the bleach when necessary. This may mean that cleaning will be more frequent, but the fumes in stronger cleaning products can be very harmful for anyone who breathes them in.
Dust can be found in every home. New homes, old homes, big homes, and small homes all over the world have seen their share of dust bunnies under the couch. Dust is a mixture of air pollutants, pet hair (if applicable), and human skin cells. Dust builds up in hard to reach and seldom used areas such as behind the refrigerator, top of bookshelves, the far inside of cupboards, and closets. The buildup can be especially problematic when the home is sealed tight for winter and the air flow is poor. Breathing in dust isn’t fatal, but can be harmful for the respiratory system through coughing. When you breath in dust, your lungs send a message to your brain that this contaminant shouldn’t be there, so you cough. Once the cough sets in, its hard to shake off and your bronchial tubes get irritated from the constant coughing.
Winter doesn’t have to be a painful season, and just because the doors and windows are shut tight doesn’t mean the home still can’t be comfortable. It just takes a little bit of foresight and common sense to avoid these household air quality threats. Anything we left out? Tell us in the comments below!