Fall Indoor Air Checklist

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.

5. Candles.
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.

By Annie B. Bond


Alicia N.
Alicia N5 years ago

noted with thanks

Talya Honor
Talya H5 years ago

Thanks for the article!

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

John M.
Past Member 9 years ago

Anything with artificial fragrance contain chemicals that are potentially toxic to young children, older adults and those already chemically sensitive. Many people have no idea why they feel so sick and tired. The FDA does not regulate these chemicals and they are everywhere and in everything!

Check out nofragrance.org

Linda Harrison
Linda Harrison9 years ago

Question: When did the "requirement" for the "required total air supply turnover" come in to being for houses/condos? It hasn't been until I've been watching some of the "green" shows on TV recently that I seen regular "air exchange" things that can actually be installed. Is this the same thing?
Thanks for the info.

Annie Bond
Past Member 10 years ago

Hi Kap,Oh dear,please don't use Bounce sheets over your vents! The synthetic fragrance and other chemicals will make the house quite polluted, the last thing you want! --Annie

Rosemary R.

weather stripping here we come! thank you again for all the really appreciated info :)

KAP N10 years ago

You can place bounce sheets or similar over your heat vents after you clean them out, this not only maks a nice scent when the heat comes on it helps catch dust and particles that would otherwise be airborn...

Dave Bruce
Past Member 10 years ago

Good ideas... when I moved the first thing I checked was the baseboard heater, the previous tenant must have been a wood carver, it was crammed with wood shavings... a fire hazard for sure

Charles Mclachlan
charles mclachlan10 years ago

hi we have a oil central heating sistem yes it imporant that you get your boiler servised and your chimney sweaped plus try and only yous it in winter and as low as you can for to help our children and granchildren of the future .