How to Keep Indoor Air Healthy and Clean During the Holidays

Dec 22, 2020

Holiday gatherings are always a joyous time to celebrate with your friends and family. However, they also tend to present certain health risks. This year, COVID-19 is taking the center stage; but even during a “normal” holiday, gatherings can present toxic indoor cooking pollution and worsen the spread of colds, flu, & other viruses. While the holidays may look a little different this year as we follow the CDC Holiday Celebrations Guidelines, here are some insights on how to keep the air inside your home air safer and cleaner during gatherings.

Changing Your Air Filters

HVAC air filters are your first defense against circulating fumes, dust, particles, and pollution. Take a moment to make sure your air filters are clean before inviting guests into your home for the holidays. It is also important to note that the recommended cadence of your air filter changes depends on how many people and pets you have in your home. Large gatherings may produce more pollution, which can require you to change your air filters sooner. Thankfully, an HVAC expert will swap out your air filters during your annual maintenance visits.

Germ Protection and Holiday Gatherings

Holiday gatherings create the ideal environment for sharing germs at the height of the cold and flu season. Thanks to the events of 2020, we have all become experts in hand washing, sanitizing, and limiting germ spread. It bears mentioning that these practices are essential each holiday season beyond the pandemic.

Mindful Cooking Practices and Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that the pollution inside your home is more harmful to your health than outdoor pollution? While there are a few separate sources of indoor pollution, the primary culprit is cooking. While you may be eager to cook up a large holiday meal, it is essential that you first ensure that you will not be filling your air with toxins. Air pollution is created by both your heat source and the foods you cook:

  • Your heat source —especially gas or wood—can release harmful particles into your air. According to the California Air Resources Board, natural gas and propane stoves release carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other harmful pollutants. A study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that a majority of homes cooking at least once a week using a gas oven may reach a pollution level that “would be illegal if found outdoors.” While electric stoves are better for your air quality, they still can contribute to these concerns as nitrogen dioxide is released during combustion.
  • On the other hand, the foods you cook also contribute significantly to indoor air quality issues. One of the primary suspects in this pollution is PHAs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), which are inhaled through cooking fumes. This is especially when you are frying and deep-frying.

To combat cooking-related holiday air quality problems, you can:

  • Use any ventilation tools—such as a range hood—that your appliances may offer.
  • Consider engaging in healthier cooking methods that limit fumes.
  • Open a window to circulate fresh air.
  • If you use a portable item—like a deep fryer—safely run it outdoors.
  • Use an indoor air purification system that addresses smoke and cooking fumes.

Effective Whole-House Air Purification System

The most reliable way to deliver clean and healthy air throughout your home is with an air purification system. While this is especially important during the holiday season, it can help keep your air protected year-round. As we covered in a recent blog about air quality purification systems, there are three common types of units:

  • Stand-alone units: These air purifiers provide effective, although isolated, air cleaning and require frequent maintenance.
  • UVC systems: UVC units are effective against germs, but they work by killing living microorganisms, so they are often not very effective against issues like cooking grease and pollen.
  • Ionization Systems: Ionization air purification systems work by breaking down particles—including non-living matter like pollen and smoke—using evenly-charged ions. This creates a comprehensive air cleaning solution.

Having the proper air purification system in place can help you combat even the most unpredictable years and challenging holiday seasons.

Newcomb and Company iWave Air Purifiers

If you are ready to keep your indoor air clean throughout this holiday season and for years to come, Newcomb and Company is here to help. We offer iWave needle-point bi-polar ionization air purifiers, which our local air quality professionals install directly into your HVAC system. Contact the experts at Newcomb and Company to get started today!

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