It's no secret that part of a healthy and comfortable home is maintaining indoor air quality. An appropriate temperature, healthy indoor humidity levels, and knowledge of what’s going on outdoors can help. Following is an overview of steps you can take to maintain comfortable and healthy indoor conditions, as well as solutions for easy home environment monitoring for healthier, safer indoor air quality. You can easily monitor home conditions and set up phone and email alerts with AcuRite sensors and the My AcuRite smart home app, so you can stay one step ahead of environmental problems before they occur.
Indoor Air Quality Tips When It's Cold & Dry Outside
Monitor and maintain ideal home humidity and temperature: The EPA recommends indoor humidity stays between 30% and 60%. Comfortable room temperatures are generally considered to be around 68° Fahrenheit. At night, some sleep experts recommend keeping a bedroom around 65°F. Infants may require slightly higher heat and humidity levels than adults, so consult a family doctor before setting levels in a baby's room.
Use room humidifiers: These are effective tools for adjusting indoor humidity levels. Use as needed when humidity dips below recommended levels.
Keep your home clean: Many recommend using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as well as mopping hard floors, and placing floor mats by doors to minimize dirt that enters the house. This will, in turn, help minimize allergens.
Make sure your home is well ventilated: When the temperature and humidity outdoors are conducive to proper indoor conditions, bringing in fresh outdoor air can reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants.
Identify and mitigate potential sources of indoor air pollution: For example, regularly replace central heat/air filters, inspect stoves, etc.
Grow indoor plants: Plants can serve as natural air purifiers, helping you breathe easier.
Regularly wash bedding: This is a prime place where dust mites can flourish. Hot water and a hot dryer are generally recommended for best results.
Benefits of Monitoring Indoor Environmental Conditions
Preventing mold: Summer's high humidity levels risk making your house a breeding ground for mold. Mold not only causes damage, it's associated with a variety of health problems. Therefore, keeping your home environment within the EPA's recommended indoor humidity levels is incredibly important.
Reducing wintertime allergens: In addition to drying out the air, the central heating system in your home can also spread around dust and other indoor allergens. A dry house is a double whammy when combined with your vulnerable respiratory system.
Protecting your valuables: Dry air or humidity can be harmful not only to your sinuses but also to your prized possessions. Musical instruments, artwork, and photo albums are all examples of things that require a minimum level of humidity to prevent damage. Flooring, drywall, and wooden trim also can be at risk.
Improving sleep conditions: Comfortable sleep conditions are highly dependent on humidity and temperature. And if you have an infant child, proper sleep conditions for him or her may be different than yours. Therefore, it's important to educate yourself on optimum levels, then monitor and maintain ideal conditions throughout your home, paying particular attention to bedrooms and nurseries.
Cold & Dry Air Quality Problems
Respiratory Problems: In addition to annoying static electricity, too little humidity can result in itchy skin, chapped lips, plus dried-out throats, noses, and nasal passages. These conditions are not only uncomfortable, but can also make you more vulnerable to colds and respiratory illness.
Damage to Property: Overly dry air can cause damage to things like delicate musical instruments, hardwood floors and molding.
Poor Heating Efficiency and High Energy Bills: Your heater is on full blast, but it always seems chilly in your home.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions
Monitor Indoor Conditions with Humidity and Temperature Sensors: For home environment monitoring, strategically place sensors in key rooms, as well as traditional problem areas like basements and attics. As an added option, you can check the air coming out of vents, check for leaks and drafts, as well as compare indoor conditions to outdoor temperature and humidity. If relative humidity falls below the EPA's recommended range of 30-60%, take action by making home repairs (such as weather stripping), and utilizing a humidifier as needed. In addition, try to maintain an indoor temperature around 68° Fahrenheit.
Note: if you've taken action and symptoms of low humidity persist, professional care may be necessary. This could include seeing a doctor, having carpets professionally cleaned, having your home's heating system serviced, etc.
AcuRite Solutions & Tips
Monitor Home Conditions Online with My AcuRite:My AcuRite remote monitoring software allows you to remotely view data from AcuRite sensors and set programmable phone and email alerts for when sensor data falls outside of your desired ranges. You can view your home environment conditions online with the My AcuRite iOS app, Android app, or on the website.
View Temperature Conditions Around the Home: Place AcuRite Room Monitors away from sources of treated air (ex. vents) to measure ambient room conditions.
Check for Inefficient Cooling Near Vents: The Spot Check Sensor can be placed near a vent or air conditioner to measure air coming out of the cooling system. This may be useful in determining if your air conditioner is pumping sufficiently cool air.
Monitor Outdoor Conditions: The Spot Check Sensor can be placed on the outside of a window with the Room Monitor positioned indoors to measure both outdoor and indoor conditions. This can help identify times when air conditioning is needed, or when you should open windows.
Check for Leaks or Drafts: The Spot Check Sensor can be placed near common problem areas like doors and windows. Home monitoring equipment can help identify spots where weather stripping needs to be replaced, or other maintenance is required.
Use a Home Environment Display: Conveniently view conditions measured by Monitors and Sensors in multiple rooms around the home.
Set Alarms: The alarm function on the Home Environment Display can alert you of undesirable conditions. These can include:
Undesirably high or low temperatures
Undesirably high or low humidity
Monitor Daily High and Low Records: Daily records can help gauge conditions when you’re at work, asleep, etc. Use this information to adjust your thermostat for maximum energy savings, or potentially to know what times to run a dehumidifier.