Winter is coming, and that means you'll be spending more time cooped up inside your house.

As you sit in front of your television bundled in a straight jacket of blankets and flannel, your windows will be closed. They may also be sealed with shrink wrap as one of the steps you've taken to prepare your house for winter. Although you may not notice a change in your home's indoor air quality while sipping hot chocolate and watching Christmas specials, winter is a key time to examine the quality of air in your house.

Consult with professionals

The first step for ensuring your indoor air quality is up to par is to contact a home inspection company. Unless you have sensitive allergies, you probably won't be able to tell if your air quality is changing for the worse.

The inspector will check your home for factors that can present issues for your air quality. This can include secondhand smoke, radon and carbon monoxide. Additionally, the inspection will examine whether there are any leaks, which can also affect air quality. If rain or snow accumulates in your house and leads to standing water, your abode could develop mold. The spores can upset allergies and cause other health problems.

Rather than guessing whether your air quality needs help, let a home inspection give you a detailed report.

Improving air quality when temperatures drop

There are various ways to reduce the contaminants in your home's air, but certain strategies aren't as feasible during winter. Here are some factors to consider:

  • One method is ventilation. During summer, this means opening your windows and running a few fans to help circulate air. However, you don't want to follow this strategy in winter to keep your heat from escaping and your energy bills low. You also want to avoid running your kitchen's exhaust fan, as doing so can pull heat out of your home. One option is to look into installing a heating system that mechanically pulls air from the outside to heat your home. These are newer devices, and many homes don't have them, so check with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist about converting your home's current system.
  • Air cleaners are low maintenance. If you're not interested in taking on a large home improvement project, you can purchase air cleaners for your house. They come in a variety of sizes, and some are small enough to sit on your tables or counters. These devices suck in air around them and run it through a filter to remove pollutants in the air. One caveat is air cleaners aren't effective at removing radon contaminants.
  • Pollutants can be attacked at the source. One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce air contamination in your house is to remove all pollutants. If your home loses power during a blizzard, for instance, don't run a generator indoors, as doing so can raise carbon monoxide levels. This step also includes removing dust and checking for mold. nbsp;
  • Certain plants can clean air. Studies have shown some plants are great natural air cleaners. Spider plants, chrysanthemums, aloe and snake plants are all cited as being helpful for the air quality in your house. Be sure to understand care instructions for these plants, especially given they won't have access to as much sunlight in your house. Chrysanthemums, for example, require direct sunlight to thrive. Also, avoid overwatering your plants to prevent the growth of microorganisms that can affect indoor air quality.