Home. You’re all about making it a place of warm welcomes and cool style. But could you be doing more to make it healthy? Maybe. In the spirit of starting the New Year with a “clean slate,” we offer these four simple suggestions for a healthier home. 

Among the Ways to Make Home Healthier:

Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly.

ThinkstockPhotos-498489625 Critical to equipment performance and energy efficiency, air filters also make such a difference in the air you breathe. How often to change your filter depends on the type of filter you use and other factors such as allergies and pets.ThinkstockPhotos-497059088The general consensus:

  • Lowest cost disposable filters (e.g., fiberglass ones that run about $2 each) should be changed every month without fail.
  • Pleated disposable electrostatic filters (e.g., Filtrete brand filters that run $15-$20 each) should be replaced every 2-3 months. 
  • Non-disposable washable filters should be cleaned/washed every month.

HVAC experts will tell you to stick with filters with a MERV rating between 9 and 12 for better air quality.

Tap Into Cleaner Water.

ThinkstockPhotos-496685560Maybe you’re already using a water filtration system, be it the kind that’s attached to your tap or a pitcher model (e.g., Brita). Most have a light indicator to let you know when it’s time to change the filter. Have you checked yours lately?ThinkstockPhotos-530323267

Kick Off Your Shoes.

ThinkstockPhotos-494594322Leaving your shoes at the door does more than keep your floors, carpets and rugs visibly cleaner. Experts say it can actually be good for the air you breathe. Among the nasty stuff your shoes can track in: dirt, pet waste, bacteria, pesticides and a host of potentially harmful chemicals. Toxins lodge their way into carpet/rug fibers and eventually join with dust particles released into the air.

Use Greener Cleaners.

ThinkstockPhotos-466035435 ThinkstockPhotos-468621537Getting your home spic and span doesn’t have to come at an environmental cost. In fact you can get the results you want without spending hardly anything at all (with tried-and-true natural ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar). One of our favorite bloggers, Anna Moseley of www.askannamoseley.com, has loads of suggestions for steam cleaning without harsh chemicals.

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How are you making your home healthier? We’d love to know your secrets.