Healthy Homes This Winter
Winter can be a long, rough season. Staying healthy can seem like a struggle, especially with the cold weather. While stocking up on cough drops and cold medicine is what most people think of when prepping for winter health, there is a whole other side to staying healthy. Staying healthy starts with a healthy home! Here is how you can prepare for this winter and keep a healthy home.
Open a Window:
This may seem a little odd because it’ s cold outside, but opening windows for around 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening before you go to bed can help the air become less stale and help reduce germs in the air. Fresh air supplies you with good oxygen that can boost your immune system and fuel your lung cells, helping them function properly.
Using a humidifier can help bring moisture back into your home. Moisture helps keep irritation at bay (think itchy dry skin as well as dry throats) and can also ease symptoms if you do get a cold or the flu. Keep the humidity levels at about 50%, any higher could cause dust mites, mold, and other organisms to grow.
If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you should be vacuuming regularly (dust mites love carpet). Bedding like sheets, pillowcases, and blankets should be washed once a week with hot water to kill any flu or cold germs. The filters for your home’s heating system should be changed every three months. If you have pets, bathe them once a month to reduce dander in your home and to aid in their dry winter skin.
Areas with wet winters can have higher rates of mold growth in the winter. Seal up any leaks in your home and consider a dehumidifier in the basement if it seems damp. If melting snow or other precipitation is getting into your home, find the leak and fix the problem as soon as possible.
Check Heating Systems:
You should have your heating system checked by a professional to be sure it is working properly, that the ventilation is good outside, and that it is clean. You should have your fireplace and chimney cleaned too. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide are working, they should be checked once a month during the winter months.
Have your car’s radiator serviced and check the antifreeze levels. Put on all-weather tires, especially if your current tires are balding. Make an emergency kit and keep it in your car in case of winter breakdowns. Your kit should include a portable charger for your cell phone, blankets, extra hats and gloves, water and non-perishable food, jumper cables, tire pump, and sand or cat litter for traction. A flashlight with batteries and a first aid kit is also handy.
It’s important you have certain necessities on hand during the worst of winter weather. Storms can mean power outages and other emergencies. Keep any grills, generators, or camp stoves out of the home, garage, and basements. Generators should be at least 20 feet away from the home and if your CO alarm goes off leave your home! An emergency kit for your home should include, radio, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit with any additional medications for family members, water and non-perishable foods, and portable cell phone charger.
Winter can bring on some pretty severe weather. Being prepared and having a healthy home can play a huge part in staying safe during the season. Use these tips to keep a safe, healthy home this winter. If your home has mold issues or you feel air leaks or want a second opinion on the health of your home, consider having the HEAT Squad do a whole home energy audit. Call 802-438-2303 to set up an appointment or fill out our form.