How is winter weather contributing to indoor air quality problems?
Cold and flu season is right around the corner, and the current health crisis facing the world has made indoor air quality (IAQ) issues even more important. As we spend more time inside, we have all become increasingly aware of the air quality inside our homes. Winter itself poses no risk to your indoor air quality. It’s how our actions and choices change during the winter months. We move indoors. We burn fires indoors. We get sick and stay indoors. These contributing factors make winter a very tricky month for indoor air quality. The goals of protecting your health and improving your home IAQ will come down to equipping protocols and mechanisms to reduce pollutants. If left unchecked, poor IAQ can lead to respiratory issues like allergies and asthma.
To protect the warmth we created during the winter months, we insulate our homes to make them more energy-efficient and cozy. Insulation is a good thing! The problem with regards to IAQ stems from the fact insulation effectively traps air inside. That’s its job! So, if pollutants, bacteria, and dust are in the air, they will remain there instead of being circulated naturally with outside air. When trapped inside your home, these nasty pollutants will multiply and divide until they are everywhere in your home. Fresh air must be allowed to mingle with your indoor air to create a balance. A great way to achieve this is with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), which strategically brings fresh air into your home without sacrificing energy efficiency. Another solution would be the energy recovery ventilator (ERV), which introduces moisture into your home to combat the stale, dry air typically associated with indoor air quality during winter. Your HVAC specialists at All Klear Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. can give you more information about whether either of these systems would be a good fit for your home.
Dust and Dirt
Dust is one of the greatest foes in the fight for good indoor air quality. Dust is a known allergen. It also creates problems for your HVAC system. When dust is introduced into your HVAC system, it clogs the filters and soils the unit. It’s important to have the system clean thoroughly during routine maintenance. In between professional cleaning, wiping away any accumulated dust from your system and vents with a damp cloth will improve IAQ and help keep your system working well. To combat dust, you can improve your air filters' quality and replace them every month or two. If you have pets, you may want to change it every month.
Secondhand Smoke and Combustion
Smoke and combustion gases terrible for indoor air quality. During winter, the air inside your home is likely already quite dry and stale. Adding cigarette smoke fumes into your household air exchange can difficult to mitigate. Whether the smoke is from cigarettes or the fireplace, the problem is the same. Smoking inside the house during the winter will leave those fumes trapped in your home, which will allow it to circulate throughout your home as secondhand smoke. Combustion gases from your fireplace or gas heating appliance can also negatively impact indoor air quality. The fumes from the sources are not good for your respiratory health regardless of season, but they are particularly bad during winter because we spend more time indoors inhaling these pollutants.
The Consequences of Ignoring IAQ Issues
Ignoring indoor air quality issues can lead to chronic illness from prolonged exposure. Even short-term exposure can cause temporary illness and discomfort.
If you are suffering from any of the following, consider contacting your IAQ specialist:
- Chronic Respiratory Illness
Working with an IAQ professional, like the team at All Klear Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc., can improve the breathability in your home or office. We offer new in-duct UV systems that seamlessly fit into your HVAC system and purify the air within your home.
Call us at (417) 228-8252 or contact us online today to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff about IAQ products and services from All Klear Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc.