06 Sep 7 Tips for Improving Ventilation in Your Home
We’ve heard our public health “experts” tell us that a properly ventilated house is one way to help keep our homes COVID-safe. But it’s not just the risk of virus transmission that affects our wellbeing at home. Poor air quality, in general, can affect not only our health but also our mood and productivity.
The last thing we need to deal with after the stress of the last couple of years is to feel crook, narky and knackered. So, one of the best things we can do is get cracking on improving our home’s ventilation. Then, you’ll not only enhance the air quality, but you’ll also help prevent any airborne nasties from accumulating.
We’ll unpack why home ventilation is important and seven simple steps you can take to ensure you’re continually breathing fresh air indoors.
Why is ventilation so important?
Did you know that indoor air quality is often worse than the air outside? And we don’t mean if you have farting dogs (or humans) or smokers at home. We’re talking about common indoor air pollutants such as mould, pesticides, asbestos, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Let’s not forget one of the most dangerous air pollutants — carbon monoxide. If your home isn’t adequately ventilated, gases from combustion appliances, like stoves and fireplaces, can build up and threaten your health and safety.
Don’t think that could happen to you?
In 2009, a 43-year-old Sydney bloke decided to use his outdoor charcoal barbie inside. He later died from carbon monoxide poisoning. And in 2017, two adults and five children living in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse were hospitalised after a faulty pool heater filled their home with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs more often than you think.
Besides the devastating impact the above pollutants can have on your health, poor ventilation also has some other undesirable effects around the home:
What are the effects of poor home ventilation?
Condensation occurs mainly during the winter months due to the contrasting temperatures between the air outside and inside. After switching off the heating and the air cools, moisture condenses on surfaces such as windows and walls.
Without a continuous flow of fresh air in and out of your home, the relative humidity rises. Then, the indoor atmosphere fills with moisture quick-smart, eventually leading to condensation.
And as moisture builds up in the walls of your home, it leads to…
When summer rolls around and high humidity sets in, mould can quickly take up space on your walls, floors, furniture, and ceilings.
Mould is a grotesque fungus that develops from airborne spores and triggers respiratory problems. It loves warm, damp conditions void of airflow.
Which is why bathrooms and kitchens often suffer the brunt of it.
Who wants to spend their weekends re-painting interior walls?
Well, if you don’t have proper home ventilation, the increased moisture levels can peel and wrinkle your wall paint. So, not only do you lose your weekend, but you’re up for the cost of maintenance.
We’re not just talking about leftover smells from last night’s butter chicken. Poor ventilation can lead to long-lasting odours that refuse to budge.
Breathing in stale air can cause long-term health issues, especially when it’s smoke or harmful chemical-related.
Low Oxygen Levels
Without proper ventilation, carbon dioxide can build, robbing you of essential oxygen, leading to headaches, shortness of breath and fatigue.
How to Improve Home Ventilation
Here are seven ways to boost the ventilation in your home to bring in clean, fresh air and help clear out insidious airborne particles.
Install an Air Conditioner
We know modern air conditioners are one of the best ways to beat the heat and the chill. But, they also allow fresh air to circulate and prevent viruses from accumulating.
We recommend you do the following:
- If you have an AC controlled by a thermostat, set the fan to “on” instead of “auto”. The fan will run continuously, even if the heating or cooling function isn’t on.
- Consider using pleated filters on your AC unit, as they’re more effective at air filtration than regular filters.
- Make sure you change your filter every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have your ventilation system inspected by a licensed professional annually to ensure it’s operating as good as gold.
- Looking for a new air conditioner and not sure which kind to buy? Read our comprehensive guide on how to choose an air conditioner for your home.
Think back to science class in primary school when you learned about photosynthesis.
If you had paid attention, you’d know that through this process, plants produce oxygen. And as a bonus, they remove toxins from the air. Greening up your home is an easy and wallet-friendly way to improve air quality and your health.
Get an Air Purifier
Air purifiers can help your room achieve clean and healthy ventilation. Choose one to match the size of the room, and you’ll soon notice the air quality improve.
Open the Windows
Want to know how to improve natural ventilation in a house that’s easy and free?
If possible, open as many internal and external doors and windows as wide as you can.
But, don’t open them if it’s unsafe for you, young children or pets. Especially if there is a risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms, or high outdoor pollution levels.
And we don’t want you freezing half to death in wintertime, so just cracking a window or two’ll do.
Make the most of cross-ventilation and create multiple wind-flow paths throughout your home. Not sure how to cross-ventilate a house? Simply open windows and doors across from each other.
Turn on the Fans
Electric ceiling fans are considered a standard installation that distribute air throughout your home.
So, pop on your ceiling fans to get that air circulating. If you don’t have them installed, place a standalone fan as close as possible to an open window to blow the air outside.
Switch on the Exhaust Fans
Bathroom, laundry and stove exhaust fans purify the air and remove excess heat. When you switch on the fan, it sends warm air outside and draws in fresher and cooler air.
This kind of spot ventilation reduces air stagnation and works best in conjunction with one or more strategies mentioned above.
Clean your Carpets or Consider Hardwood Floors
Carpets are a haven for dirt, dust mites, hair and fungus.
The thought of that may trigger your gag reflex, but more importantly, all these things can trigger breathing-related conditions. Which affects people living with asthma, bronchial issues, eczema and hay fever.
Hardwood floors force these nasties to take up residence elsewhere. But if this isn’t an option, make sure your carpets are thoroughly cleaned regularly.
As you can see, many of these tips are easy to implement. Put what you can in place, and you and your family will be breathing deliciously clean, fresh air 24/7.