Consumer Reports | Improving indoor air quality

Even if the weather outside isn’t frightful, you might still be dealing with dry and dirty indoor air, especially from keeping windows and doors shut all winter.

Adding humidifiers and air purifiers can help.

We’re working for you to explain how they require just a little TLC.

Sure, it may be warm and cozy inside but winter air can be especially dry and uncomfortable!

“A humidifier can help keep the air inside of your home at a comfortable level. However, a humidifier that isn’t cleaned properly can produce mold spores,” Consumer Reports Home Editor Tanya Christian said.

Some mold can cause flu-like symptoms, along with skin rashes, eye and lung irritation. To keep your humidifier fresh, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions which typically include daily and weekly maintenance.

Here are some general guidelines from CR:

  • Every day, rinse, then towel dry the tank and fill it with clean water.
  • Every week, give your humidifier a deep cleaning with vinegar. Also, be sure to replace the filter according to your owner’s manual.

And while newer, more tightly sealed home construction improves energy efficiency, it also keeps fresh air out, which Consumer Reports said can be potentially problematic with indoor air concerns like carbon monoxide.

Where do indoor air pollutants come from? Gas stoves and volatile organic compounds emitted from cleaning agents, pesticides, and aerosols which can irritate your throat, nose, and eyes and even damage internal organs.

“In addition to humidifiers, people also use air purifiers to reduce allergens and indoor air pollutants so it’s a good idea to keep these well maintained,” said Christian.

Consumer Reports said you can also improve indoor air quality by vacuuming regularly and limiting indoor smoke from wood fires, candles, and incense.

About the Author

John Carlin co-anchors the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10.