Between dropping temperatures and icy weather, there are plenty of reasons to stay inside during the winter. While cozying up to the fire is a great way to beat the cold, people are generally more susceptible to illnesses while remaining inside. Here are nine steps you can take to remain healthy throughout the winter.
1. Combat Dryness
Dry skin is a big problem in the winter. Using a humidifier can help add moisture to the air inside your home. Just be careful about using humidity settings above 50 percent. Mold, dust mites, and other unwanted organisms thrive in high humidity. It's also recommended to check the specs of your humidifier and make sure it can cover your entire home.
2. Circulate Air
With the temperatures dropping, it's easy to forget to open the windows and let fresh air inside. You should open windows at least twice a day for around five minutes to help circulate dust and allergens. Do not open the windows for longer than 10-minute intervals as this can lower the inside temperature too much.
3. Clean Regularly
Keeping a clean environment is key to remaining healthy throughout the winter months. People tend to stay indoors more when the cold weather hits, which increases the chances of transmitting viruses. Cleaning regularly will help combat germs, but it also removes dust and allergens that tend to accumulate on surfaces. When cleaning, you should wash sheets more frequently in the winter and make sure your air filters are changed once every three months.
4. Have the Chimney Inspected
If your home has a chimney, it should be cleaned once every five years. This includes an inspection on the flues as well as a chimney sweep. If you use your fireplace on a frequent basis, you may want to get this work done on an annual basis. After all, a clogged chimney can create a dangerous situation in the home and can even lead to a house fire.
5. Stay on Top of Home Repairs
Winter is a great time to tidy up any last-minute projects around the house, including leaks. Leaky pipes and faucets encourage mold growth, so it's important to plug up any leaks before winter sets in. If you notice a new leak during a winter storm, it's recommended to dry up the problem area within a day or two to prevent mold spores from setting in.
6. Avoid Decorating in Winter
It's tempting to redecorate in the winter, but it's best to put this off until the warmer weather arrives. New paint, furniture, and even certain kinds of carpet leach unhealthy chemicals into the air. The cold weather makes it difficult to keep air circulating, which means these chemicals could get trapped in confined spaces longer than they should. Avoid these types of health hazards by putting off redecorating projects until you can properly vent the home.
7. Get some Houseplants
Plants are a great way to help clean the air during the winter. Plants help remove excess CO2 and add oxygen to the air. Plants also remove volatile organic compounds from the air, which are byproducts of smoking, cooking, and burning wood. These compounds can lead to major health hazards, including respiratory problems.
8. Check Safety Devices
Winter is a great time to make sure all your home safety devices are running properly. This includes fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located in hallways and in every room of the house. You can perform a self-check on most detectors and replace batteries whenever needed.
9. Clean Ducts
Winter is the perfect time to get your home’s duct work cleaned. Ducting should be thoroughly cleaned every five years to remove pet dander, dust, mold, pollen, and other allergens from the air. While the duct work is getting cleaned, you can also have your furnace checked and serviced. This will ensure the entire heating system is running at its best when the cold weather arrives in full force.