We’re all well aware that winter brings on the chills. And we’re not talking about some measly goosebumps — but the sniffles, the achoo’s and the “ugh, I’m dying.” We’re talking sinuses and colds. In other words, your body’s worst nightmare.

Believe it or not, your heating and air conditioning have an effect on your indoor air quality. And it’s more important than ever to conduct a good cleaning since you’ll be spending the majority of your time indoors. Here are four tips for breathing easier this winter.

1. Replace or upgrade your filters.

While this may seem trivial, it makes a huge difference. Think for a moment, how often do you actually take out and replace your HVAC filter? For most systems, it should be changed once a month. If you have multiple occupants living in your home, maybe twice. And, if you have pets, more often than that. Pets’ tendency to shed makes them the culprit for a clogged air filter. When dander remains in the filter, any air that passes through is then recirculated back into your home.

Fiberglass filters are an acceptable standard for most HVAC systems, but it’s always a good idea to ask your local heating and air specialist. If you’re looking to really improve your indoor air quality, consider switching to filters with a higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.

2. Take advantage of your thermostat’s “fan on” mode.

Many of us assume to set our thermostats to auto. After all, it keeps us from continually having to get up and adjust when the temperature reaches one extreme or another. Of the three modes: auto, off, and fan on, the last option is ideal if you’re actively looking to boost your air quality. Using the system fan allows your home to consistently replace the indoor air — which may help those suffering from severe allergies that lie dormant otherwise.

3. Monitor the humidity levels.

Humidity can also play a part in seasonal allergies and illnesses. When it’s higher than 50 percent, it can promote mildew and mold growth. A happy level for a home is between 30 and 50. Anything below 30 has the ability to dry out the skin and cause respiratory issues. You can find digital humidifiers at a variety of stores such as Target or Walgreens. They’re a great way to balance your levels out and keep your immune system strong!

4. Schedule a professional air duct cleaning.

If you’re still having issues, your home may be due for a duct cleaning. Particles, dust, and allergies have the ability to accumulate within your air ducts. As your system runs, they’re continually released back into the air — making all those strategies a little less effective. We recommend having a professional air duct cleaning done each season. This will help sweep out any mold or pesky bacteria that’s causing your family breathing problems.

If you’ve completed each of these steps and haven’t experienced notable results, reach out to our team. There are several types of filters and services we offer that can help keep your home healthy all winter long!

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