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Easy Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter

Winter often means a decline in indoor air quality (IAQ), largely because as business owners and homeowners we are often doing our best to keep cold winter air OUT and warm indoor air IN. This can help keep our heating bills down, but it can also lead to poor indoor air quality inside your residential or commercial property.

Indoor air quality can deteriorate due to many factors, including an inadequate outdoor air supply, poor indoor environment (excessive humidity and poorly controlled temperatures), and indoor air contaminants (everything from common household dust to food odours to perfumes and chemical cleaners to off-gases from new building materials).

All of these factors have the unintended effect of decreasing indoor air quality and contributing to health conditions that include asthma, allergies, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), Building-Related Illness (BRI), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), “sick home syndrome” and many others.

If poor indoor air is a concern where you live or work, consider these easy tips for improving indoor air quality during this winter season.


First, just add plants.

Many common tropical and indoor plants help purify and clean the air by trading oxygen for carbon dioxide, removing toxic chemicals from the air, and rendering them harmless or absorbing them into their leaves and/or soil.

How many plants do you need?

Well, NASA researchers recommend at least one plant per 100 square feet of space in their Clean Air Study.

Some of the plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study include English Ivy (Hedera helix), dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), Aloe vera (Aloe vera), peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’), Rubber plant (Ficus elastica), Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’), and Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterate).

If you have pets, make sure that your chosen plants are safe for your furry felines or canines. This page has a helpful list of some of the plants that are appropriate for pet-friendly households (PDF file).

You can review the full list of plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study, the chemicals that these plants have been shown to remove from the air, and whether each plant is toxic or not to cats and dogs.


Next, attend to any mold.

If you have any mold in your residential or commercial building property, it’s important to attend to it before it gets worse and before it begins to impact your overall health. Attics with inadequate ventilation, basements, or mold-prone rooms like bathrooms, kitchens and indoor hot tubs/saunas, are a few good places to start.


Third, vacuum regularly.

Vacuuming regularly (more than once a week) can help keep pet dander, dust mites, fleas, pollen and other potential outdoor allergens from affecting and decreasing indoor air quality.


And lastly, get some air.

Sometimes easy tips are also simple and free: open your windows! Weather permitting of course, but this is really an effective way to replace some of the stale air inside with fresh air from outside.

If you live in a newer building and/or one that is tightly sealed, this is particularly useful so open your windows on a regular basis and your indoor air quality should begin to improve.


Looking for a Toronto or GTA-based inspector to perform a residential or commercial indoor air quality assessment? We can offer advice and solutions to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ), in spring, summer, fall and winter. Call us today at 416-575-6111 to book your free consultation.


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