How to improve ventilation in your home
The importance of ventilating your home and workplace should not be understated. Buildings, like people, need to breathe in order to allow stale, polluted air to circulate out and cleaner air to circulate in. This helps to renew indoor oxygen and push out contaminants. Read below to learn more about how to properly ventilate your home, even in winter.
Why is ventilation important?
Energy efficiency has become an important topic and is a forethought for many professional builders. Unfortunately, this means that many buildings are now built in a way that makes them airtight, making it difficult for air to flow in and out.
Lack of proper ventilation can lead to an accumulation of indoor air pollutants which can be dangerous for your health. Carbon monoxide, for example, also known as the ‘silent killer’, can build up indoors if not properly aerated. This is a toxic, odourless gas that can have dire health consequences in high concentrations, including death. Other air pollutants like CO2, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can enter your home if you purchase new furnishings, and these compounds can be released into your home for up to a year. Products you use in your home like paint, solvents, air fresheners, candles, cleaning products and pesticides can impair your air quality1.
If your home is not ventilated, inhaling these compounds can lead to a host of negative health effects including several types of cancer (especially lung cancer), respiratory illness and disease (like COPD and asthma), increased chances of experiencing allergies, and recent studies have shown that they can even lead to higher incidence of mental health issues (like fatigue, anxiety, and depression). Read more about the dangers of air pollution here.
Another issue that can occur if a home is not properly ventilated is a build-up of moisture and humidity. This is a severe problem that can lead to mould and mildew growth and proliferation which can cause damage to your home, especially leading to wood rot in your walls and floors which may weaken the structural integrity of your residence. Furthermore, breathing in mould spores is dangerous to your health and may cause respiratory irritation and difficulties breathing as well as serving as a trigger for allergies.
Some symptoms of poor ventilation may include dry throat and eyes, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, poor quality of sleep, dizziness, and coughing. Pre-existing conditions, especially respiratory and heart diseases, may be aggravated as well2.
How should you properly ventilate your space?
There are some easy steps you can take to ventilate your space. If it’s safe to do so, you can open your bedroom windows for about ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night3. It is even better if you can open your windows and/or doors on either side of your home to create air flow that moves throughout your whole space. This may seem like a difficult thing to do in winter, but your home and health will ultimately thank you!
Another good suggestion is to ensure proper heating of your home. In winter, when moisture from outdoor air comes into contact with cold surfaces like walls, the moisture will condense, creating more potential humidity problems that may lead to mould growth4. Dry clothes outside, too, to avoid further moisture accumulation.
Some further tips include ensuring that all combustion appliances and heating like gas or wood stoves ventilate to the outside. If performing DIY work and using products containing VOCs, take extra care to ventilate. Never leave a vehicle idling in your garage. And finally, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your space and be sure to test regularly for radon, the second leading cause of cancer5.
Improve your indoor air quality with an air purifier
While it is always recommended to have some form of ventilation a few minutes a day to let oxygen in, unfortunately, there are several situations where mechanical ventilation may not be ideal. First of all, in summer or during periods of extreme heat, opening the windows and doors may bring hot air into your home. Second of all, you may live in a location where safety is an issue, and leaving windows and doors open may pose a risk. Finally, if you live in an area that experiences high levels of outdoor air pollution, mechanically ventilating your space may lead to an influx of outdoor air pollutants that have now become indoor air pollutants, causing problems for your health. So, what is your best course of action?
The best thing you can do under these circumstances is to invest in an air purifier.
Air purifiers, although they do not renew the stale air in your space, are great for removing indoor air pollutants, rendering your air safe for breathing. Eoleaf’s air purifiers are capable of removing all contaminants from your air down to a size of 0.1 μm which may include allergens (dust, mould and spores, pollen, and pet dander), germs (viruses and bacteria), chemical pollution like VOCs and formaldehyde, and fine particle pollution (PM10, PM2.5, and PM0.1). Additionally, Eoleaf’s devices come equipped with a remote control display that allows you to monitor your air quality and humidity levels in real time via Bluetooth, guaranteeing you clean air by tracking levels of fine particles, airborne allergens, droplets, aerosols, and chemical pollution at a glance.
1 Abchi, M. (2020, October 21). Why ventilation is important for your home? Professional Home Inspection, India. Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://macj-abuyerschoice.com/why-ventilation-is-important-for-your-home/
2 Dijkmeijer, F. (2020, June 2). Consequences of poor ventilation. Ventilationland. Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://www.ventilationland.co.uk/en_GB/blog/item/all-about-ventilation-255/
3 Why is it recommended to aerate your home every day? ADEME. (2020, May 22). Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://agirpourlatransition.ademe.fr/particuliers/maison/sante/pourquoi-conseille-daerer-logement-tous-jours
4 Aerating your home during winter: How do you go about it? Vasco. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://vasco.eu/en/blog/aerating-your-home-during-winter-how-do-you-go-about-it
5 Ventilation: How buildings breathe. American Lung Association. (2022, November 17). Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://www.lung.org/clean-air/indoor-air/protecting-from-air-pollution/ventilation