Closing up the house for the winter–or for the summer with air conditioning–requires keen awareness of potentially new air quality concerns. Did you ever think of the “burnt dust” phenomenon, for example, when you first turn on the heat and the dust of the summer burns off hot water baseboards?
Here are my top eight concerns about indoor air when you close up the house for the winter:
1. Burnt Dust Phenomenon.
Have you cleaned your baseboard heaters before turning on the heat for the first time since last winter?
2. Air Supply.
Does your home have the required total air supply turnover of four to six times an hour in the middle of winter?
3. Offgassing of New Renovation.
New building products can offgas toxins. Consider sealing in toxic fumes using products from AFM (http://www.afmsafecoat.com/)
4. Cleaning, Pesticides, and Personal Care Products.
Switch to non-toxic alternatives and use an air filter if toxic products have been used in the past that could still be in the home.
Avoid all candles but 100 percent beeswax and vegetable-based. If the candles are aromatherapy candles confirm that the scent is from pure essential oils.
6. Serviced Boilers and Clean Chimneys.
Make sure your central oil or gas heating units is serviced every single year. Make sure the chimney is cleaned every year if you burn wood. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm.
7. Combustion Appliances.
Avoid vented and unvented combustion appliances, including gas and kerosene space heaters. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm if you have a gas stove.
8. Fumes from an Attached Garage.
Never run the car in the garage. Consider ventilation for the garage. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm.