You want to deck the halls and clear the air to keep good cheer and good ventilation throughout the holidays. Here are a few tips for doing both:
The garage isn’t for grilling
You want to grill but the weather just won’t cooperate. Resist the urge to take it inside, because your garage is no safer a place to use your outdoor gas or charcoal grills than your living room. Without proper ventilation it can be dangerous, and your garage cannot provide the proper ventilation. So even if the weather is crummy, it’s safer to keep the grilling outside.
Keeping fire in its place
There’s nothing quite like a fireplace to cozy up the atmosphere, during the holidays or anytime. If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure you’ve opened the chimney flue damper before starting the fire, and keep it open until the last ember dies. Have your chimney cleaned each year to remove the creosote which builds up from soot and inadequate ventilation. It’s not only unsightly around your fireplace, it’s a flammable substance inside your chimney.
Blowing off steam in the kitchen
Extra cooking in the kitchen around the holidays means your stove top and oven are often going full tilt. There will be steam and there may be smoke — and the solution is NOT to take the batteries out of your fire alarms, the solution is the right ventilation. Use the oven hood fan to keep moist or smoky air from building up in the kitchen. And if you don’t have one (or want the extra ventilation), put a box style fan in the window and have it blow the interior air out. Even if you don’t have a fan, having two windows open on opposite ends will create a helpful draft.
Getting by with a little help from your HVAC friends
Of course, having regular maintenance is ideal. This is a good time to have a licensed professional inspect and clean your ducts to make sure you’re not losing energy through cracks and holes, or blowing dirty, allergen-laden air through your house. It’s also a good time to change the air filters so that dirty, clogged filters aren’t causing inefficiency and stress on your equipment.