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6 San Diego Indoor Activities to Keep Your Family Entertained

San Diego may not be the hottest city in America during the summer, but the temperature can still become too much to handle at times.

If the heat becomes overwhelming for you and your kids, you might want to take a break from the sunshine and explore some of the incredible indoor entertainment that San Diego offers. After all, San Diego is one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations for many reasons. It’s not just brimming with beautiful outdoor destinations. San Diego has countless fantastic experiences to offer behind closed doors, too!

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the amazing ways you can keep the whole family busy when you don’t want to worry about the weather. For more seasonal inspiration, check out our round-up of our favorite Bob Jenson summer blog posts.

Visit the Taylor Guitars Factory

Have you got a budding musician in your family? The Taylor Guitars factory in El Cajon gives you insight into some of the world’s most beautiful acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitars.

To introduce visitors to the history of the factory, there’s a guided tour available for free every weekday at 1 PM. All you need to do is check in to the lobby to sign up, though larger groups may need to make a reservation. There’s also a gift store that you can explore to find everything you need for your own guitar.

Head to the Theatre

The theatre is always a fantastic place to visit when you’re looking for an escape from the outside world. Whether you’re watching an old classic from Shakespeare or something new and exciting, the theatre gives you a chance to experience entertainment in a more personal way.

San Diego has a wonderful theatre scene, though it rarely gets the attention that it deserves. Consider checking out a show at the Old Globe or La Jolla Playhouse to see some new acts before they make it to Broadway. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, the Lot gives you gourmet food while you watch a show from a comfortable reclining chair.

Explore The Birch Aquarium

The world-class San Diego Zoo is an incredible place to visit when the weather is mild. However, during hotter days, the animals are just as likely to be seeking the shade as you are. For a more temperature-friendly experience, consider heading to the Birch Aquarium instead.

Offering the opportunity to view more than 5,000 fish across 60 different habitats, the Birch is a wonderful place to learn and explore. There’s plenty of information about the different parts of the underwater world for kids to soak up here! Check out the Hall of Fishes and Shark Reef, and don’t forget to visit the live tide pools.

Cool Off at an Ice Rink

What better way to cool down than to surround yourself with actual ice? The Westfield UTC mall provides plenty of chances to shop until you drop with a range of fantastic stores and an impressive food court. However, the most exciting feature of all is the huge indoor ice rink.

Check the opening hours of the rink before you go, and remember that you can book skating lessons for the whole family if you’re looking for a way to learn something new. Once you’re done on the ice, there’s still the entire mall to explore.

Go to the New Children’s Museum

There are plenty of fantastic museums to visit in San Diego but if you’re looking to keep kids entertained, then you’ll be hard pressed to find anything more appealing than the New Children’s Museum. Featuring fully interactive displays that youngsters can investigate, the Children’s Museum is far different from any other indoor experience you’ll find today.

This unique location focuses on encouraging children to see the world through the inspiring lens of artistic creation. There are also plenty of activities to sign up for, such as guided sculpture making or art classes.

Visit Balboa Park

Finally, Balboa Park is a beautiful place to visit when the sun is shining and the weather is excellent. However, if you’re looking for a way to stay indoors, then there are plenty of museums to explore in the park too. You can even switch between brief periods outdoors and a few hours exploring the local museums to change things up.

Some of the most impressive places to visit include:

  • The Ruben H Fleet Science Centre: Tailored to kids with interest in science.
  • Natural History Museum: Explore the natural world and check out some dinosaurs.
  • The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre: Check out a local puppet show!

Make the Most of San Diego Every Day

Rain or shine, there are countless places to explore and things to do in San Diego. Whether you’re keen to check out the local museums or you’re interested in learning a new skill, you’re sure to find something amazing in this beautiful city.

Follow the blog here at Bob Jenson for more suggestions on fantastic things to do, as well as air-quality and HVAC tips for managing the heat.

5 Common Summer Allergies and How to Treat Them

While many allergy sufferers begin experiencing symptoms in the months of spring and fall, the battle to fight many common allergies rages on throughout the heat of summer. In this blog post, you’ll learn what to expect in terms of symptoms and common environmental triggers. You’ll also learn a few tactics for preventing new symptoms and getting treatment.

Allergy Symptoms

Whether you suffer from allergies personally or know someone who does, many symptoms are easily recognizable. In fact, over 60 million Americans are said to suffer from summer allergies.

Severe sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchiness are all basic red flags. Additionally, some allergy sufferers experience watery or bloodshot eyes and general fatigue. While these can present for a variety of illnesses, prolonged symptoms in the presence of certain environmental conditions may indicate seasonal allergies.

Although we generally think of allergies as annoyances in the spring and fall, there are several culprits that still create trouble during the summer.

Pollen

Pollen is perhaps the most obvious trigger for individuals who struggle with seasonal allergies. Although tree pollen is at its peak in late spring, it stays behind on plants and grasses that can cause continuous problems. This type of allergen varies by geographic location and is often stirred or carried by strong winds.

Weeds

Common weeds include ragweed, cockleweed, pigweed, Russian thistle, sagebrush, and tumbleweed. While you may not be able to identify these if you were to see them in person, they can certainly create real issues for allergy sufferers! In fact, ragweed tends to be the most common summer allergy culprit; once it is picked up in the wind, it can travel hundreds of miles.

Smog

Although smog is present year-round, summer sunlight can make atmospheric ozone at the ground level much worse this time of year. When chemicals from car exhaust mix with the intense heat and humidity of the summer months, the problem of smog is made worse. This issue tends to be more prevalent in busy or congested cities, which can even fall under clouds of dense smog.

Insects

While not true allergens in the sense of pollen or ragweed, insects like bees and wasps can create many problems for those who are allergic to them. Bees, wasps, mosquitos, ants, ticks, and others emerge in the summer months. For some allergy sufferers, a run-in with one of these insects can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. Always take precautions if you are in an area with open food or standing water, as these environments attract pesky critters.

Microscopic Particles

The warmth and humidity of summer create an ideal breeding ground for substances like mold and spores. Additionally, microscopic dust mites are at their peak during the summer. Residue from these spores and particles can travel in the breeze or settle into fabric.

How to Get Allergy Relief

When it comes to conquering allergy triggers and symptoms in the summer, you have several options depending on which kind of allergy you struggle with. These include:

  • Taking over-the-counter medications like antihistamines or nasal steroid sprays.
  • Planning a visit to a board-certified allergist for skin testing and treatment.
  • Exploring immunotherapy through injection or tablets.
  • Adding apple cider vinegar or natural probiotics to your diet.
  • Cleaning and changing air filters and washing bedding, clothing, and other fabrics.
  • Wearing an air mask or staying indoors during the height of smog and pollution.
  • Dressing appropriately to cover skin from insects and bees.

Make Your Indoor Air a Welcome Respite

As you look to improve the air you and your family breathe this summer, make sure you don’t overlook your indoor air quality. Because we spend most of our time indoors, making sure the air you breathe inside your home is healthy is well worth it.

The Bob Jenson team can provide an air quality evaluation while helping improve your cooling system. Reach out to us for more info, and don’t forget to keep checking the Bob Jenson blog for suggestions on how to ensure solid air quality year-round.

Protecting Your Health After a Wildfire or Natural Disaster

The impact of wildfires is growing, with wildfire season ushering in more annual fires and an increased health risk for anyone in their path. Between 1980 and 1989, there was an average of 140 wildfires larger than 1,000 acres per year. By 2012, that number had nearly doubled.

The obvious concern is that your home could burn down, or that you’ll suffer burns and immediate smoke inhalation when a wildfire rips through town. However, you could also be miles out of the path of the blaze and still feel and breathe in the effects of the fire.

What’s more, even staying inside with the windows shut isn’t enough to escape the toxic particles a wildfire sends spinning through the atmosphere. That said, there are some ways you can protect yourself and anyone you know who is vulnerable to breathing problems. Many of the tips also apply to other disasters where air quality is affected, including tornadoes and volcano eruptions.

Why is Smoke So Dangerous?

The pollutants that result from fires can include substances like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. Of the thousands of types of particles created by wildfires, many of them are toxic to people and animals. Health conditions influenced by wildfire smoke include COPD, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

The amount of damage a wildfire does to air quality has a lot to do with meteorology. According to the US Forest Service, fresh smoke from wildfires is a “is a complex mixture of gases and aerosols.” The amount of moisture in the air and wind patterns help inform how the fuel created by wildfires travels. Your local topography is also a factor.

The type of trees and land burning may also impact the risk to air quality. At least one study found that the greatest threat to air quality comes from eucalyptus fires, while pine tree fires pose a different unique threat as they lead to a genetic mutation of bacteria, which can be an indicator in cancer development.

Smoke is also insidious because it doesn’t just affect you when you’re outside. Greenhouse gases and other toxins can easily seep into your home undetected.

Tips for Staying Safe

Most people spend the majority of their lives indoors, so maintaining good air quality is always important. After a fire or other natural event that stirs up air pollution, you should take special care to make sure the air in your home or business is as healthy as possible.

Here are some ways to improve the air quality in the spaces you use most:

  • Avoid creating more air pollution. Burning candles, vacuuming often, and using a gas stove without ventilating the room can all create more air pollution. When the air quality index is already high, you don’t want to add to the problem.
  • Keep windows and doors closed. If you have air conditioning, you can run it but you’ll want to close the fresh-air intake. If you don’t have A/C, just shutting windows and doors for a few weeks after a wildfire can help you cut the pollutant levels in half.
  • Clean air conditioning filters. If you do have an HVAC system, change the air filters often. After a natural disaster, it’s not overdoing it to swap them out monthly for a while. At the very least, you should make sure you’re cleaning the filters regularly. Go with a filter with a higher MERV rating than you normally would, because this enables the filter to catch more harmful particles. If you typically use a MERV 8 filter, for instance, consider upgrading to MERV 16 (the highest number typically used for residential properties).
  • Install an air filtration unit. These appliances do just what their name implies— clean the air in your home. Even if you don’t have A/C, you can circulate the air using one of these free-standing units. Look for a unit that filters two to three times to room volume per hour.
  • Wash your nose and sinuses out. You can also protect yourself by using a Neti pot to wash out your nose and sinuses with a saline solution. This can clear out any trapped particles. Neti pots are typically recommended for use only once a day.

If you’re in or near a fire zone, prepare your home with the right filtration and prepare to use fans instead of an open window. Your family’s health is more important than a smooth cross-breeze.

If you’ve got questions about how to protect your indoor air quality, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bob Jenson. We’re a trusted San Diego country provider of comprehensive HVAC services, and we’d love to find out more about your needs. Contact us today.

The Best Outdoor Activities in San Diego

We know better than anyone: There’s no place like home when it’s warm outside. With a modern, well-running HVAC system, some thoughtfully placed houseplants, and your friends and family around you, it’s tempting to cozy up, settle in, and forget all about the great outdoors.

And yet that would be a huge missed opportunity — especially here in sunny San Diego, which ranked third in a recent study of US cities with the best weather. The benefits of fresh air, sunlight, and a brisk hike through nature are scientifically undeniable. Spending time outdoors is linked to increased happiness, mental and physical health, and even productivity!

We urge you to find ways to take advantage of the San Diego climate and awesome outdoor attractions. If you’re wondering where to start, you’re in luck: we’ve put together a round-up of ways to get moving outside in San Diego.

Here are just a few of the available options, based on what you’re interested in doing:

Hiking

Whether you’re looking for a short jaunt or a long haul, San Diego has plenty of hiking options. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a local favorite — literally local, as it’s within city limits — for its miles of wild landscape just minutes from the city.

If you like waterfalls, there’s also Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail just outside of town, which is great for all ages and abilities. And if you’re looking for the best views, then Cowles Mountain Trail might be for you: It brings you to the highest point in San Diego and offers a stunning panorama of the area.

There are plenty more if you check these ones off your list and if you’re feeling ambitious and have some extra time on your hands, consider making the trek to Joshua Tree National Park.

Swimming & Surfing

Worked up a sweat from all that hiking? Then you might want to hit up a beach, of which there are plenty. Torrey Pines has beaches along with their trails, and La Jolla Shores is another popular option if you want to hike then swim. La Jolla is also swell for surfing and hanging out with seals and leopard sharks.

Coronado Island is another popular swimming destination with its calm waters and dog-friendly northern beaches. Aquatic park Mission Bay Park is one of the highest rated, though, thanks to its accessibility and 4,600 acres of space.

Thrill Seeking

If you’re looking for a thrill, you won’t have to look for long. San Diego has countless opportunities to get your adrenaline flowing. If you’ve made it to Mission Bay, consider giving their jet packs a shot — it’s a truly unique experience to blast through the air above the waves.

Nothing quite compares to the thrill of skydiving, and in San Diego you can jump from 12,000 feet above the sparkling blue Pacific. Finally, if you want to combine taking in the views with your adventure, consider paragliding: Torrey Pines has a spot to launch from with one of their experts, or alone.

Sightseeing

Getting outdoors is also a great way to see some of San Diego’s most popular attractions. For a chance to learn a little history, consider the Cabrillo National Monument. While enjoying spectacular views of downtown San Diego, you can learn about the Portuguese explorer who sailed into port in 1542 and visit the museum while you’re there.

More of an animal lover than a historian? The San Diego Zoo will thrill everyone from the youngest of kids to the most grown up among us. The zoo is frequently touted as world-class and has over 4,000 animals and plenty of opportunities for education and entertainment.

These outdoor activities merely scratch the surface of what San Diego has to offer. In this city, your options are truly endless — you can even follow up a long day of adventuring with a dinner al fresco. When it’s time to return home, make sure you can trust your indoor air quality to be just as refreshing as your adventures outside.

Contact Bob Jenson for a consultation, and follow our blog to stay up to date with air quality tips and news.

Are Candles Diminishing Your Indoor Air Quality?

At Bob Jenson, we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve indoor air quality and the sneaky things that can reduce the air quality within our home. We’ve recommended natural air fresheners before, but we also realize that many households burn and use candles on a regular basis.

Some people enjoy the ambiance and soft glow of candlelight, while others love the variety of scents available on the market today. However you decide to use or burn candles, it’s important to consider the effects on indoor air quality that may be difficult to detect with the naked eye.

How Candles are Produced

The different production methods for candles contribute greatly to their possible negative effects on indoor air quality. Many consumer candles are made with paraffin wax, which is a petroleum waste product that must be “deodorized and chemically bleached” before it becomes wax.

The problem with this process is that when paraffin burns, it releases toxins similar to those found in burning diesel fuel. Not exactly what you want in your home! Some candle wicks are also produced using lead, which has a detrimental effect as the candle continues to burn over time.

Harmful Effects

There are many potential side effects that come with using candles. If you love candles, you don’t have to panic or take drastic action—but you should remain educated on the ways that candles can affect the quality of the air you and your family breathe on a daily basis.

Toxic Fumes

As noted above, paraffin wax candles produce certain toxins known as carcinogens. Carcinogenic substances carry a potential risk for developing diseases like cancer and should thus be reduced or controlled whenever possible. Candles may give off known carcinogens like toluene, acetone, and benzene, which have been documented to cause or worsen asthma and skin conditions.

Along the same lines, the scents produced by candles are pleasant but artificial. Since they are created through synthetic chemical processes, burning them can produce harmful organic compounds known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. Many underlying respiratory conditions can stem from VOC sources in the home.

Cored Wicks

Some candle producers use metal materials to keep wicks upright while burning. Although practical, these metal centers often contain hidden sources of lead. When burned, this creates the risk for lead poisoning, particularly in homes with small children. Any candle that contains wicks with wire or metal centers should be replaced immediately.

Soot and Ash

Soot is a black smoke that may create stains on walls, fabrics, and clothing. This substance occurs when candles don’t burn completely, which happens more often with cheaply made candles. Although air particles from soot and ash are microscopic, they can still enter an individual’s lungs and respiratory system, creating various health problems down the road.

Best Practices for Burning

Most of us don’t think twice before lighting a favorite candle, but did you know that there are right and wrong ways to enjoy them? Carefully consider where and for how long you leave candles burning. Many candles provide recommendations on the packaging as to how many hours you should burn them at one time.

Paying attention to best practices when you burn candles is good for both air and fire safety. Burn candles in areas of your home that are well-ventilated and open and place lit candles away from drafty spots, since doing so can cut down on the amount of pollution carried through the air.

Better Alternatives

If you simply love to burn candles in your home and don’t want to swear off them entirely, there are a few alternatives that can help minimize or eliminate the risks involved.

  • Purchase candles that are made from soy or beeswax, as opposed to cheaper materials like paraffin wax. The slightly higher price-tag is worth the reduced health risk!
  • Choose candles that contain only one wick, and ensure that it is cut down to the appropriate size. Wicks should be trimmed to ¼ of an inch before burning.
  • Make the switch to essential oils in a diffuser instead of burning candles. This creates a similar aroma without the same risks to air quality.

Evaluate Your Air Quality

The air quality in your home is not something that you can or should take lightly. Consider the long-term effects of anything you bring into your home, and make sure to stay up to date on best practices and health risks or benefits.

If you’d like an evaluation of your home’s indoor air quality, contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating for an assessment or for other HVAC services.

7 Hidden Outdoor Gems to Explore in San Diego

Get Out of the House this Weekend!

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “Indoor Generation” to describe the vast number of individuals who opt to stay in rather than venturing outside? More than ever, people are spending a staggering amount of their waking hours indoors. As Bob Jenson’s Kevin Burns noted on Realty Times, the reasons for this shift include a decrease in the number of outdoor jobs (in industries like farming and agriculture), changes in transportation methods, and shifts in various forms of entertainment.

Unfortunately, being indoors for a majority of the time comes at a hefty price. Health implications include dangerous levels of indoor air pollution, short-term issues like headaches or irritated eyes, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to lack of consistent light exposure. While there are some things you can do within your space to improve air quality, nothing beats the age-old solution of simply spending time outside.

If you’re in the San Diego area and looking for ways to combat spending too many hours cooped up indoors, this list of outdoor hidden gems is sure to inspire you to explore a new place. After all, there’s a reason we’re one of the happiest cities in the country. These unique stops are perfect for San Diego natives and tourists alike.

Secret Swings

Are you looking for a tucked-away spot that provides great views while still feeling like a hidden treasure? You can find the “Secret Swings” on a La Jolla hillside above Scripps Pier near UC San Diego. This collection of handmade swings, complete with unique seats like benches and tires, is sure to provide some relaxation. The swings and locations are often on the move, so it’s a good idea to check out #secretswings on Instagram before you plan a visit.

Hidden Art Murals

When you think of San Diego, you might immediately think of the signature stunning landscapes and natural beauty. While that’s understandable, there’s also plenty of handmade beauty to check out as well. These man-made sights include several street murals found in La Jolla, Normal Heights, and North Park. You could even create a scavenger hunt so that you don’t miss any of the best art.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

If you’re a San Diego native, you might already have a favorite spot for watching the sunset on a warm day. If not, make time to take a drive to Torrey Pines: This natural reserve is known for the rarest pine tree in the nation and sculpted sand cliffs that are sure to leave you speechless. The picturesque landscape is one that you’ll want to visit again and again.

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Thrill seekers, locals, and tourists alike will enjoy the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. This dangling pathway was built in 1912, making it a historic “must-see” spot in the area. The unique walking bridge places you high above the treetops and provides a slight sense of danger as pedestrians wobble back and forth.

Del Mar Racetrack

Fond of all things equestrian? Be sure to plan a special visit to the Del Mar Racetrack, also called the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Popular among tourists, this venue offers an al fresco breakfast complete with views of the track and practicing thoroughbreds. It’s a unique way to get out of the house on a nice day.

The Meditation Gardens

If you’re looking for a spot with natural serenity, look no further than the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas. These gardens are tucked away within the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage but they are open to the public. Here, you can sit back and enjoy the natural views, fresh flowers, koi ponds, and Birds of Paradise, all while accessing some inner zen.

Sunny Jim Cave Store

A true list of hidden gems wouldn’t be complete without something a bit quirky. On the surface, the Sunny Jim Cave Store looks like the average beachside tourist shop, selling goods like souvenirs, trinkets, coastal-inspired jewelry, and surf gear. The true treasure lies behind the store itself, where visitors can head down a steep tunnel to reach the La Jolla sea caves. The cave entrance is known for being mysteriously soothing, with natural mineral colors sprinkled all around.

After spending after a full day of exploring hidden San Diego gems, you’ll realize how special this city we live in is and how good it is, mentally and physically to get fresh air and discover new things! Keep checking back with our blog for more awesome treasures to find in San Diego!

8 Options for Natural Cleaning Products

Need a shortcut to improving the quality of your indoor air? It all starts with the type of cleaning products you use. If you’re cleaning your home with products that include harsh chemicals, you could unwittingly be unleashing toxic fumes and residue throughout your household. But if you switch to cleaning products manufactured with non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients, you’ll be creating a safer, healthier living space for your entire family — and helping the environment as well.

There’s no shortage of natural cleaning products and alternatives on the market these days, so we’ve compiled a list of eight of our favorites to help you get started. (PS: If you need help getting the family on board or creating a cleaning schedule, we’ve got you covered there, too.)

Green Works All Purpose Cleaning Spray

You’ll need an all-purpose cleaner in your arsenal of natural products, and this offering from Green Works is a solid choice. Savvy brand shoppers may already know that Green Works is owned by Clorox; however, this line of cleaning products is created without the same manufactured chemicals as its parent brand. Instead, Green Works uses essential oils and coconut-based cleansing ingredients to help cut through grease and dissolve all types of messes.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

Along with an all-purpose cleaner, you’re going to want a natural cleaner to tackle some of your bathroom’s more specific needs, like pesky mold and bacteria on sinks and showers. This offering from Seventh Generation utilizes essential oils to help disinfect and deodorize naturally, without the nasty fumes you’d get from regular bathroom cleaners. (They also offer multiple types of liquid laundry detergent and chlorine-free bleach if you’re looking to cut the chemicals out of your laundry!)

Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

When it comes to cleaning your toilet, most of us look for something a little stronger than a standard bathroom cleaner — but unfortunately, “stronger” typically means corrosive chemicals and bleaching agents. Better Life’s toilet bowl cleaner, by comparison, isn’t dangerous for children and pets, plus it’s biodegradable, derived from plant materials, and safe for septic systems. Whatever makes cleaning the toilet a safer practice is good by us!

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

“Face, body, hair — food, dishes, mopping, pets — the best for human, home and Earth!” says Dr. Bronner’s company website, and though it might seem impossible that one natural soap is that multi-purpose, Dr. Bronner has the formula down pat — and in eight different non-toxic scents, to boot. Take note of their dilution cheat sheet — you’re going to want to make sure you mix only as much soap with water as you need for the task at hand.

Method Hand Wash

If you’re looking for a more affordable natural hand soap option, the Method brand is available in stores such as Walmart or Target, and they offer a wide array of different soaps to keep your hands clean and bacteria-free. According to The Good Trade, Method’s founders “have truly set the standard for any company aiming to be sustainable” by incorporating environment-friendly practices such as using renewable energy, making the packaging eco-friendly, and launching a biodiesel shipping program.

Breathe Aerosols

We place a lot of importance on air quality — household and otherwise — for a reason: if the air is full of invisible fumes and chemicals, it could be making you and your family sick. That’s why the Breathe line of natural aerosols is a top choice — their website notes that their product is the first aerosol cleaning line with 100% of ingredients meeting the EPAs Safer Choice criteria, and their aerosols are not made with the typical liquefied petroleum gas. Their furniture and stainless steel polishes should be what you’re reaching for if you’re doing a deep clean in your dining room.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Room Fresheners

Air fresheners are often where you’ll find problematic aerosols — do you really want strange chemicals and toxins floating around in the air you’re breathing indoors? Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day sells natural air freshening sprays in non-aerosol bottles to keep rooms fresh, so you don’t have to worry about your family inhaling something they shouldn’t. Bonus: The company also sells all-natural candles.

Vinegar

Think you have to spend a lot of money on organic cleaning products? Surprise: one of the most effective all-natural cleaners is probably already in your pantry! White vinegar — often combined with lemon juice and other infusions in order to take the edge off the sharp smell — is an incredibly cheap and effective way to make your own natural household cleaner.

Check out The Kitchn’s tutorial on how to make lemon-thyme vinegar cleaner, good for any surface except marble. Or, if you’re not the DIY type, The Strategist recommends White House Foods Cleaning Vinegar, which comes with a lavender scent.

Keep Clean Without Chemicals

Although it may seem like the cheaper and quicker way to get your house clean, choosing chemical-filled cleaning products can be worse for you — and the environment — in the long run. With so many natural cleaners to choose from, you’ll definitely be able to find what you need within your budget — and you might be amazed at how effective they are at keeping your home clean and toxin-free.

Be sure to follow the Bob Jenson blog for tips on improving household air quality, updates on the HVAC industry, and all other related topics!

A Cleaning Schedule for the New Year

Your tired and you can’t get rid of that nasty cough. Or is it the flu? (We certainly hope not.) We’ve all been there. Feeling under the weather is no fun, and what’s even less fun is wondering if the air quality in your home could be holding you back from regaining your health.

When you start off the new year with an effective cleaning schedule, you’re setting your entire family up for healthier living and enforcing strong habits. You’d be shocked how much of a difference weekly dusting and regular carpet cleaning can make!

Here are some tips for creating a schedule that works for you (while improving the air quality in your home).

Weekly Themed Schedule

Some tasks should be done every week. Make it easy to remember what you’re working on each day by creating a theme. If you’re lucky, it might also make it easier to get your kids on board with helping. Here are some samples to inspire your own daily cleaning themes:

Moppin’ Monday: Give your hardwood floors and carpets a good cleaning every Monday. After a weekend of outdoor play or family gatherings, it’s good to rid of the dirt that was tracked inside.

Toss It Tuesday: Take out the garbage, clean out your fridge, and go through your mail on Tuesday. The less clutter you have, the easier it is to wipe down surfaces and keep them dust free.

Wiping Wednesday: It’s time to wipe down your tables, counters, TVs, bathrooms, and doorknobs. You’ll get rid of germs and dust in a single swoop; don’t forget to reach behind picture frames and other spots where dust can sneakily collect.

Thorough Clean Thursday: You should reserve at least one day for projects that take a bit more time. Does your bathtub need a detailed grout clean? Is the dust beginning to show on your crown molding? Schedule one of these projects per week so they’re less daunting than trying to tackle them all at once.

Folding Friday: Clean your sheets, towels, and laundry once a week. You’ll definitely want to wash hand towels that are used by multiple people throughout the week – you’d be surprised how many germs your freshly washed hands can still leave behind! Get everything folded and sorted so you start the weekend with this task behind you.

Monthly Cleaning Chores

Other cleaning jobs are just as important but don’t need to happen every day or week. Dedicate a half-day once a month to the following cleaning projects:

Quarterly Upkeep

Every 3 to 4 months, you should roll up your sleeves and take care of some deep cleaning. Dust and debris can collect in the most random of places, and a quarterly deep clean ensures that you’re not missing any blind spots. Check these cleaning items off your list about four times a year:

  • Wash your comforter and pillows
  • Clean shower curtains and liners
  • Clean the inside of your oven and dishwasher
  • Give your refrigerator and freezer a thorough cleaning
  • Vacuum out the fireplace
  • Shampoo your carpets

Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule means fewer scrambles to clean everything at once, less stress, and improved air quality. Maintaining a dust-free home with clean air vents means the air quality that’s circulating won’t be filled with dirt — not only will you impress your guests with a floor that’s clean enough to eat off of, but your airways will thank you, too.

Want to keep up with all of the ways to keep your home’s air supply clean and your surfaces tidy? Follow the Bob Jenson blog for the latest news on home air quality, HVAC repairs, and more.

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