Signs your home could be more comfortable
10. Hot and cold spots: These annoying examples of bad air lurk near sunny windows or drafty doors. You can minimize these ups and downs with a variable-speed furnace that runs at low speed most of the time to keep temperatures comfortably consistent.
9. Mold and mildew: Dampness and darkness can cause a fungus among us and mildew and mold to grow on clothing, leather, lawn chairs and shower tile. Make sure fabrics are clean and dry before you put them away. Try removing mildew with bleach and keep indoor humidity between 45% and 55% with a dehumidification system.
8. Firewood nearby: Firewood stacked less than 30 feet away from your home is an invitation to termites, a haven for mold and a fire risk. Stack firewood on the uphill side of your home, when possible.
7. Use of ozone-producing systems: Some home filtration systems can actually make the air worse by producing ozone, which the American Lung Association says can trigger shortness of breath and chest pain. Choose an ozone-free filtration system to protect your indoor air quality.
6. Year-round allergies: Even if your home looks clean, your allergies may be aggravated by airborne contaminants like pet dander, pollen and mold spores. HEPA filtration systems remove up to 99.97% of the small particles that standard disposable filters can’t stop.
5. Ineffective gutters and downspouts: Keep gutters free of leaves and dirt, using a stiff brush or a water hose if necessary. Make sure downspouts are positioned to carry water away from your home to help prevent mold growth.
4. Dusty surfaces: Dust is ugly, sneeze-inducing and affects the efficiency of your HVAC system. Weekly vacuuming can help keep dust under control, and so can air cleaners; changing your furnace filter once a month is also a good idea to keep your home cleaner and more efficient.
3. Lingering odors: Using toxic household cleaning products only when completely necessary can help keep your home healthier.
2. Clutter: Books, collectibles and stuffed toys collect dust, and cluttered closet floors are hard to clean. Keeping your décor simple helps keep your home easier to clean.
1. Dying houseplants: Like you, houseplants need a bit of moisture in the air to thrive. Taking baths instead of showers, setting a heat-resistant container of water on a wood-burning stove and installing a whole-house humidifier can add the moisture needed to make harsh, dry air easier on your home and your lungs.