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Seasonal Air Quality Tips

As the cooler autumn months slowly roll in, Canadians across the country are spending more time indoors. This means eventually closing windows and doors and turning on the heating systems.

Here are some tips to help keep the air you breathe clean:

  • Have your heating system checked by a certified professional:

    • All combustion appliances should be checked for proper function and for leaks (including any furnace, wood or gas stove, fireplace, flue, chimney, etc.)

    • The chimney should be checked for any blockage by nests or other items

  • When the leaves start falling, make sure your eavestroughs (rain gutters) are kept clear. Ensuring rain water flows away from your home will reduce flooding and mould risks.

  • Disconnect your garden hoses and drain the outdoor faucets. If water in a faucet freezes, it could cause a leak which can lead to water damage and mould growth.
  • Check the outside of your home for any cracks or spaces that could allow water to enter. Seal the water out to reduce the risk of growing mould.
  • There is not enough scientific evidence to show that having your air ducts cleaned will improve your indoor air. However, in some cases it might be a good idea such as:

    • In a newly built home where the ducts have dust and litter from the construction

    • After a home renovation where dirt and dust may have built up in the ducts

    • If water has leaked into the ducts and you think mould may have formed

    • If the air flow through the vents is reduced due to blocked ducts

  • Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors:

    • Test the detectors to see if they are working properly

    • Check the expiry date – replace units if past the expiry date

    • Replace the batteries

  • Make sure any water in the air conditioner drain pan is cleaned up
  • Change (or clean) your furnace air filter as instructed by the manufacturer
  • If you have a door between the garage and home, check that it seals well. Replace weather stripping if needed.
  • Maintain the furnace humidifier. Set it to a proper level. If moisture forms on indoor window panes, this is a sign that the humidity level is too high. Normal indoor relative humidity levels range from about 30-50%. In the winter when it is very cold outside, the relative humidity should be closer to 30%. Adjust the humidity level to your comfort.