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Is your home ready for the arrival of chilly weather?

Put your well-being at the top of the list with these ideas to help ensure a health-conscious home.

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When chilly weather arrives and the days get shorter, chances are good you’ll spend the majority of your days indoors. Before you start your hibernation, it’s a good idea to ensure your home is up to the task.

Put your well-being at the top of the list with these ideas to help ensure a health-conscious home.

Encourage better air quality
When the house is closed up to keep out the cold, you may be trapping in undesirable air pollutants. A well-sealed house may not have the best circulation, and that’s the ideal environment for allergens to accumulate.

A thorough cleaning is the first step toward better air quality. Vacuum all carpets, including under furniture and around baseboards. Be sure to launder linens that aren’t typically part of your regular washing routine.

When opening windows isn’t comfortable during cold weather, letting the sunshine in can still help to improve indoor air quality. A study by the University of Oregon’s Biology and the Built Environment Center showed rooms with increased sunlight have fewer viable bacteria.

“Until now, daylighting design has been primarily about visual comfort or circadian health, but now we can say daylighting influences air quality,” said Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, co-director of the BioBE Center and co-author of the study.

Let in light
Natural light plays an important role in overall health, and reduced daylight in the winter months can have a big impact on productivity and sleep, according to a recent survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Velux. For example, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they believe daylight affects their productivity and mood. Light is also an important cue to the body’s circadian clock, and proper exposure to natural light during the day can help support better sleep when darkness falls.

What’s more, sunlight is a natural antidepressant, and there is ample scientific evidence that associates daylight with better health and quality of life, such as improved mood, less fatigue and reduced eyestrain.

It may be tempting to keep the drapes closed when it’s blustery outside to ward off a draft, but with well-sealed windows, there’s no reason to block that all-important natural light. In rooms with ample natural light available, take advantage, especially in the morning when exposure to daylight can benefit your circadian rhythm.

However, not every room is situated to maximize your access to natural light, and that’s when you can get creative. One solution is skylights, which add natural light to virtually any space.

For a larger room, a fresh-air skylight can help address air quality concerns, and some models offer smartphone connectivity to open and close the skylight and even raise or lower blinds with a few quick taps of the finger.

Keep out the cold
There actually is some truth to the old wives’ tales associating cold with getting sick. The viruses that cause colds and the flu thrive in cooler temperatures, for example. This means that, at least indirectly, a cold environment may indeed make you sick.

To ward off a chill in your home, safeguard against drafts around windows and doors. If seasonal weather-proofing is impractical, consider temporary solutions like draft stoppers or mats you can place at the base of doors. Add insulation, if needed, in areas that commonly release a significant amount of heat, such as the attic and garage.

Learn more at whyskylights.com.

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Home Care

5 Healthy habits for your home

Start your year off right with more advice for healthy habits around the home.

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If you’re like most people, health is an important aspect of your resolutions when each new year rolls around. While factors like diet and exercise are keys to healthy living, so are the ways you care for your home and belongings.

Your home living environment plays a major role in your health and comfort, so incorporating some new habits like these from the cleaning experts at Swash Laundry Detergent can help you establish a healthier lifestyle.

1. Control Air Quality

Especially during the winter months when your home tends to be closed tight, air can grow stale. Do your best to keep air quality strong by opening windows on mild days to circulate fresh air, using an air purifier to remove irritants and pollutants, frequently vacuuming and sweeping to keep floor dust and debris under control and regularly cleaning textiles that can trap allergens and other particles.

2. Scale Back Detergent Use

Using too much laundry detergent isn’t just risking buildup and unnecessary wear on your washer and dryer; it can also increase the residue and buildup in your clothes, which can lead to skin irritation and damage fabric faster. Using only what you need helps protect your belongings and your skin. An option like Swash Laundry Detergent, which features a Precision Pour Cap, dispenses the detergent for you, so you only pour what you need to effectively clean each load and fight stains. A single bottle of the ultra-concentrated formula – available in Simply Sunrise, Free & Clear and Pure Linen scents – washes up to 83 loads while taking up less space than traditional, bulky detergent bottles.

3. Make Use of Natural Light

When winter brings day after day of dark, dreary weather, it can take a toll on your mood. Brightening your living space with natural light can positively influence your emotional state while helping with your electric bill. If you’re concerned about privacy, utilize window treatments at night, but let the sunlight bring good cheer to your living spaces during the day.

4. Switch Bedding on Schedule

While you sleep, your body sheds oils, cells and elements you carry into your home like pollen. Sheets should be washed once a week on the hottest water setting your fabric will tolerate (check tags for laundering directions on your sheets before washing). If your schedule makes weekly washing, drying and remaking the bed unrealistic, consider having a couple sets you can rotate so you always have fresh, clean sheets waiting to remake your bed on laundry day.

5. Work Up (and Wash Out) a Sweat

The materials that keep you feeling cool and fresh by wicking away sweat can quickly get stinky, but over-washing can make them lose their shape and fade. Even so, washing after every use is a must. Washing workout clothes inside out exposes the surfaces that have absorbed sweat and body oil to detergent and agitation. Be sure to close zippers, buttons, clasps and other fasteners to prevent snags. Pre-soaking with equal parts vinegar and cold water can also help eliminate odors, and washing in a gentle, cold-water cycle and drying on low heat can help protect the fabric’s elasticity and wicking properties.

Start your year off right with more advice for healthy habits around the home at Swash.com.

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Home Care

Improve your home’s air quality

Improving your home’s air quality begins with recognizing what contributes to poor indoor air quality, the potentially harmful effects and how to address these problems.

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way people spend time in their homes. From work to working out, more out-of-the-house activities have moved to the home.

In fact, according to the 2021 American Time Use Survey, 38% of employed people did some or all of their work from home. That means better indoor air quality at home is as important as ever.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be up to five times worse than outdoor air quality. With the average person taking about 22,000 breaths per day, installing smarter indoor air quality technology is key to healthier living year-round.

Improving your home’s air quality begins with recognizing what contributes to poor indoor air quality, the potentially harmful effects and how to address these problems.

Off-gassing

Off-gassing from construction materials, carpeting, adhesives and synthetic materials, as well as solvents from common household cleaners, can accumulate in even well-constructed homes. Continuous ventilation solutions can help reduce the harmful effects of off-gassing, such as headaches, nausea and irritation in your eyes, nose and throat.

Simple smart ventilation fans and good ventilation can help control off-gassing in your home. Other options for reducing the impact of off-gassing include shopping for products designed for low or no volatile organic compound emission and adding houseplants that naturally help filter and purify the air, though houseplants only offer a small amount of help.

Moisture

Moisture that is not properly ventilated can cause mildew and mold formation, which can potentially lead to structural problems and health issues. For most homes, the optimal humidity balance is 40-60%, but those levels can be hard to maintain in high-humidity spaces like bathrooms.

Antimicrobial light technology combined with powerful ventilation offers effective protection against bacteria, mold and fungi growth in your home. An option like the Broan SurfaceShield LED Exhaust Fan kills viruses and prevents mold, bacteria and fungi growth on surfaces in your bathroom or other humidity-prone environments. Featuring two lighting modes, an everyday white light perfect for task lighting and a continuous antimicrobial mode, the cover is also designed to stay cleaner longer with less louvers in which dust and dirt can get trapped.

Cooking effluents

Cooking effluents from food preparation can infiltrate the whole house in minutes. Grease, oils and aromas settle permanently into carpet, furniture, clothing and other surfaces. Kitchen ventilation solutions can help eliminate cooking effluents for a cleaner, more comfortable and healthier environment.

For example, the Broan Elite 21-Inch Custom Range Hood Power Pack offers a custom appearance while protecting cabinetry with stainless steel liners. Bright LED lighting enhances your cooking experience while the four-speed, back-lit, soft touch control and WiFi connectivity enabling voice control makes operating the hood easy. Automatic infrared sensing allows your range hood to adjust the speed of your fan based on your cooking style.

Pollutants

Stemming from sources like space heaters, gas stoves, woodstoves, indoor furnaces, dryers and fireplaces, combustion pollutants are gases or particles that come from burning materials. Examples include carbon monoxide – causing headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue – and nitrogen dioxide – causing eye, nose and throat irritation; impaired lung function; and increased respiratory infections.

When possible use appliances that vent to the outside, ventilate rooms where fuel-burning appliances are in use and ensure these appliances are properly installed, used, adjusted and maintained.

Explore more ideas for improving air quality in your home at broan-nutone.com.

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Home Care

7 Easy and affordable ways to make your home more eco-friendly

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

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The Philippines is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme rainfall and drought will affect availability of water and food; rising sea levels will flood coastal areas and dislocate millions of people.

However, simple acts done every day by millions of people can help reduce climate change. This is the principle behind the SM Green Movement—a collective effort among customers, communities, and partners to make “greener choices” that will protect people and the planet.

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

Unplug unused appliances

Appliances that are on standby or idle power mode can still use electricity. Be mindful of energy waste in your daily routine: for example, leaving a laptop plugged in even when it’s fully charged, or forgetting to turn off the coffee maker.  You can also use a power strip to group appliances—such as TV, gaming console, powered speakers—so you can turn them all off at the same time.

Invest in energy-efficient lightbulbs

Start by replacing five of your most commonly-used light fixtures with LED lights.

LED lights use from 75% to 90% less energy compared to a traditional bulb, and last 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 10 times longer than fluorescent lights. Since lighting typically accounts for 15% of a home’s average electricity use, switching to LED can also save you a lot of money!

Change the way you take a bath

A ten-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons (or almost 114 liters) of water. You can save water just by turning off the water while you soap and shampoo or using a pail and tabo. If you get a low-flow shower head, you lower water consumption by 40% or more. 

Think of greener ways to beat the heat

Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, and fluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer. Inverter air conditioners use less energy, but it’s still important to minimize use. To keep your home cool, you can:

  • Get blackout curtains. The thick lining can block up to 99% of light and 100% of UV rays.
  • Get air coolers. These are fans that blow hot hair into a wet pad, so the water evaporates and cools the air. You can find some on SM online, and even more choices in the department store.
  • Use your fans creatively. Open the window and point fans towards it so it blows hot air out.

Adjust ceiling fan settings to counter clockwise, so it pulls hot air up and pushes cool air down.

Choose eco-friendly, sustainable products

Obviously it is always ideal to have the right tools to make homes more environmentally-friendly, and – fortunately – it is now easier and more convenient to find eco-friendly products. You have thousands of choices at SM Supermalls. Watsons has over 1,200 sustainable health & beauty products. Body Shop uses ethically-sourced ingredients, and has even switched to 100% recycled hair care bottles. Kultura has handmade products with natural or recycled materials—and you can find even more eco-friendly cooking and cleaning products in SM Home.   No time to compare products? Ask an SM personal shopper to do it for you, then either pick it up or have it delivered to your doorstep. 

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