If your family is like most, you spend more time inside when it’s cold and dark outside.

On the one hand, that can make this a great time for enjoying baking, reading, board games, movies, and other indoor activities together. On the other hand, everyone in the home might be breathing in what could be poor-quality indoor air.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, low-quality indoor air can aggravate asthma and increase the risk of not only respiratory problems, but also cancer and even heart disease.

You can know it’s time to get your ducts cleaned when you’re dusting more often, the return air grills get covered in film or there are odd odors in the house.

What to do

Fortunately, five simple steps can improve your indoor air:

1. Change air filters monthly. They trap pollutants such as pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.

2. Dust with a damp microfiber cloth and vacuum regularly.

3. Increase ventilation. Weather permitting, open a window to let fresh air in and stale air out.

4. Get a humidifier. Winter air can be very dry and that can be uncomfortable. Humidifiers increase moisture in the air and reduce static electricity.

5. Schedule air duct cleaning. Contaminants get pulled into the HVAC system where they can be a problem for people with respiratory conditions, auto-immune disorders, asthma or allergies.

In addition, those contaminants may cause the system to work harder, which shortens the life of your furnace and air conditioner and raises your electric bills. When you’re ready to tackle those air ducts, choose a qualified contractor to ensure the job is done right.

How To Get Help

To make that easier, you can learn more and find a National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)-certified air duct cleaning professional at www.BreathingClean.com.

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