I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly been noticing the dropping temperatures over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been rather tempted to turn the heater on. Our heaters don’t get a lot of use through half of the year, and frankly, don’t get a lot of thought, either. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does start getting troublesome when we start to forget the central heating maintenance. Not only does the heating and air system start to work less efficiently, but the indoor air quality also starts to decrease too, even having the potential to be worse than the air outside.

Central heating and air conditioning systems are just like our cars, in the sense that they require regular maintenance to ensure they’re running at their best. When the maintenance is neglected, overall performance starts to go down and the level of indoor air pollutants starts going up. Over time, a good deal of build-up accumulates in the air ducts that carry air throughout the home; including dust, debris, mold, and even germs and bacteria. The only way to clean this stuff out is to go in and clean it out. It’s probably a good idea to have a professional come out and do it for you since the process can get rather complicated and messy if you aren’t using the correct tools.

Another great place to help increase your indoor air quality and overall central air and heating systems is to check and clean the air filters roughly once a month. The air filters do exactly what they sound like, they filter air, and as a result, they start to get clogged with the stuff that they filter out. Once they’re clogged, they stop working and cause your system to work harder to push through the same amount of air, which in turn increases your utility bills.

One of the easiest ways to help keep the quality level of the air inside your home high is by opening windows throughout the house. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive since it is winter and we’re using our heaters to keep out the cold air, but the air outside is typically clean and healthy and could be better for you than the air inside your home. The E.P.A. did a study a few years back that showed that the average home has an indoor air quality that can be upwards of five times worse than the air outside.

All in all, there are a few different ways to get the best indoor air quality in your home this winter, but the best way of all is through the use of regular central heating maintenance. Making sure your heating system is running in top shape is the best way to ensure that the air it’s pumping is clean, healthy, and best of all, running at high energy efficiency.