Home's indoor air quality a concern during winter

When you come home and take a nice deep breath to relax, are you getting more than you bargained for? It may come as a surprise to learn that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air in our homes is often two to five times more polluted than the outdoor air -- even in the largest and most industrialized cities.

Even for those without allergies or sensitive respiratory systems, it's important to have a clean home. As you close your home for the cold months ahead, now is the perfect time to take some simple steps for fresher air.

"Considering the amount of time spent in the house, especially during winter, you should ensure that your home and indoor air are as clean as possible," said Leiah Miller, product manager for Filtrete vacuum accessories.

Some tips to help keep homes clean and fresh:

* Clean HVAC system. Pull out the old furnace filter, vacuum the intake grill and replace the filter regularly. A clean furnace runs more efficiently and puts out cleaner air.

* Dust and vacuum often. Consider using a vacuum with a built-in allergen or HEPA filter, such as the Eureka Boss SmartVac, which allows one to clean floors and surfaces while leaving less dust in the air.

* When dusting, do so with microfiber towels and dusters. Such products attract dust, which cling to the fibers instead of simply dropping back to the ground.

* Filter allergens. Change vacuum filters regularly to reduce the number of allergens and other particles released into the air. Filtrete vacuum filters, for example, optimize vacuum durability and suction, keeping the home cleaner by trapping dust. The filters are available at a variety of retailers and service nearly all brands and models of vacuum cleaners.

* Ventilate the home. It may seem counterintuitive, but let the outside in. Open windows and doors helps indoor air circulate with outdoor air and results in a fresher environment.

* Test the air. The surgeon general warns that radon causes lung cancer and recommends testing your home with a radon tester. Also, consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detection device to alert you to the presence of this colorless, odorless, lethal gas.

* Go natural. Consider switching to natural and organic cleaning products that won't release dangerous chemicals into the home.

* Bathe and brush pets regularly. Pets' coats are often loaded with dirt and dander that scatters around the house and can contribute to poor indoor air quality, especially if Fido stays outdoors while owners are away. To avoid this problem, brush pets' hair before they re-enter the home from outdoors and bathe them regularly.

Information courtesy Filtrete