Winterize Your Home for a Healthy Season Indoors
| 3 min read
- Get your flu shot. With the weather getting colder you’re probably spending more time indoors, which means you’re in constant contact with others—even those who have a cold or flu. If you’ve ever wondered why the cold and flu are more prevalent during the winter months it’s partly because dry air allows moisture from sneezes and coughs to hang around, allowing germs to live longer due to the lack of humidity.
- Manage your home’s humidity levels. Humidifiers are great for reducing the number of airborne viruses and keeping your sinuses under control. But when humidity levels are kept at or above 50%, the conditions become ideal for mold growth, which can trigger allergic reactions like sneezing and skin rash. One indicator of high humidity levels is moisture collecting on windows, walls and pipes. If you see these signs, lower your humidifier’s speed setting accordingly.
- Clean and inspect your fireplace. It is important to note, indoor fires produce harmful particles, however, no one can deny the cozy appeal of a roaring fire. It’s important that you get your chimney inspected and cleaned – this is a task best accomplished by hiring a professional. A 2016 study from National Fire Protection Association found that the leading cause of home fires could be attributed to dirty chimneys.
- Sanitize important places. Some of the highest concentrations of germs can be found in the kitchen, with more than 75% of dish sponges and rags containing salmonella and E. coli. The National Sanitation Foundation also found that bathroom light switches, refrigerator handles, stove knobs and microwave handles all have high levels of harmful bacteria. These areas should be included as part of a regular weekly cleaning routine, while surfaces used in preparing food should be cleaned after each use. Use nontoxic cleaning solutions so you aren’t breathing in dangerous chemicals.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Carbon monoxide has no odor or color, but it can be deadly. Installing a CO detector will help you monitor its levels. Homes with fuel-burning appliances tend to have greater concentrations, so pay special attention to properly venting and maintaining these appliances. Warning signs of faulty equipment include streaks of soot around the appliance and rusting pipes and jacks.