Adequate home ventilation isn’t just about getting more fresh air and reducing stuffiness, in fact, a well-ventilated home can have massive benefits when it comes to your general health and wellbeing as well as reducing the chances of structural damage caused by damp. This article takes a deeper look at the subject of home ventilation, exploring the reasons why it is important; the warning signs of poor ventilation; and some of the measures you can take to ensure your home has adequate ventilation.
Why is home ventilation important?
As we briefly touched on in the preceding paragraph, adequate home ventilation comes with a host of benefits relating to generally improved living conditions, the maintenance of the property and, most importantly, your health and wellbeing. Poor ventilation can result in the formation of moulds and mildew which can have serious long term health consequences, in this section we look at some of the reasons why adequate ventilation is so important.
Improvement of air quality
When it comes to quality of life, having access to fresh, clean air not only helps you feel better in the moment, but also helps you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and energised. If we consider how essential air is to our survival, it becomes clear why proper ventilation is so important.
Removal of indoor air toxins
No matter the area or environment you live in, an indoor space will allow for the buildup of toxins. These can take a number of different forms such as pollution, smoke, allergens and mould spores. Proper ventilation helps naturally remove these toxins from your living space.
Creates a safer environment against viruses
The Covid-19 Pandemic has made everyone more aware of viruses, and while this may be an extreme example, it serves to illustrate that viruses are all around us and our chance of transmission is greatly increased by poor or inadequate ventilation.
Removes excess of carbon dioxide
Carbon Dioxide is a natural byproduct of respiration, and while small amounts aren’t of any concern, homes with poor ventilation can lead to a buildup of Carbon Dioxide, which can have a knock on effect on health. When the Carbon Dioxide concentration in the air is too high, it prevents the body from receiving the oxygen it needs for healthy growth, sleep and day to day activities.
Temperature and humidity regulation
A cool breeze is a great way to naturally regulate the temperature if it is too hot, but even in the colder months it can have a beneficial effect. When the heating is on and all the windows are closed a home becomes far more humid and this leads to the buildup of toxins in the space. Even opening a window for a few minutes can help circulate air and reduce this buildup.
Helps when using cleaning and disinfecting supplies
While proper cleaning is important for maintenance of your home, many cleaning products and disinfectants contain harmful or hazardous chemicals. Proper ventilation helps dissipate these toxic substances.
Eliminates unwanted moisture
As we have briefly mentioned moisture can lead to big problems in the home, from the formation of mould or mildew to structural issues caused by long term damp buildup. Proper ventilation helps keep the air in your home dry and clean.
How would we know if my home is not well ventilated?
So, now that we understand some of the advantages of proper ventilation a little better, the next question is how to know if your home isn’t adequately ventilated. Luckily, many of the warning signs of poor ventilation can be clearly observed if you know what to look for.
Musty smell in rooms
A musty smell can be caused by a variety of substances ranging from smoke to mould spores, however regardless of what is causing the smell the reason the air is stale is because it isn’t circulating, which is a sure sign of poor ventilation.
Mould is starting to form
When you see visible mould, the problem may be much bigger than you first think. Mould colonies form in places where mould spores land, and there is enough moisture and organic matter for the mould to take hold. Bathrooms, basements, kitchens and other spaces with poor ventilation and high humidity are the most common areas for mould formation, so you should check these areas regularly to stop mould before it becomes a problem.
Excessive amount of condensation on windows
This may be more prevalent during the winter months, but condensation forming on windows is usually a sign of poor ventilation. If your windows are showing a build up of moisture, you should take measures to air out the room regularly or find a permanent ventilation solution.
Finding moisture on countertops
Following on from the point above, countertops are another area in the home where moisture will buildup if there is poor ventilation. This can be particularly prevalent in kitchens where warm, moist air comes into contact with a cool counter.
Frequently getting sick or frequent sinus issues
If you or your family have regular sinus or respiratory issues, which seem to clear up when you leave the house, it can be a sure sign of poor air quality, and also may indicate that you have hidden mould forming somewhere in the home. If these symptoms persist it would be advisable to visit a doctor, but if the cause can’t be found you may want to have your home inspected for mould or mildew.
How can I improve my home ventilation today?
If you have experienced any of the warning signs mentioned above then you need to find ways to improve the air circulation in your home. Luckily, not every solution requires expensive maintenance, and often just opening a few windows and doors to create cross ventilation may go a long way towards getting more fresh air to circulate.
Open your windows
Opening windows is one of the best natural ways to improve ventilation. Even in winter it is important to open your windows each day to let stale air out. It is even better to keep windows open permanently to allow for cross ventilation through the home. This is where a lockable window latch such as LockLatch or MiniLatch comes in handy. These C304 stainless steel security devices allow you to lock your windows in the open position, meaning you can let fresh air in without the security risks usually associated with open windows. The patented design means that the LockLatch can be fitted on any type of window, which means you can maximise ventilation by leaving two opposite windows open to create a natural air current in your home.
Fans to improve airflow
If your home doesn’t allow for natural cross ventilation, then you may need to turn to mechanical mechanisms to stimulate airflow. Fans are a great way to get air moving in the home and reduce the buildup of toxins. It is however still important to ensure that there is a source of fresh air and that stale air has an exit. If you run a fan with the windows and doors closed you are just circulating stale air.
Air conditioning system with strong filters
Air conditioning is another mechanical system to promote air circulation, however these devices come with their own complications. Air conditioning vents and filters are prone to the buildup of the very impurities you are trying to get rid of. That is why it is important to regularly check and clean or replace your air conditioning filters to ensure these particles aren’t recirculated in the home.
Keep your doors open
Just like windows, doors can be an excellent source of fresh air. But, unlike windows, it isn’t usually wise to leave an unlocked door standing open. Once again the LockLatch device can be fitted to any type of door meaning you can leave the door open, but ensure that the gap is only big enough to let fresh air in. Each LockLatch device comes with a lifetime guarantee, which just goes to show how durable these devices are. Using a LockLatch to keep a door open but locked is particularly important in smaller homes or apartments where you may only have windows on one side of the home, so generating cross ventilation is much harder.
Install extractor fans
Extractor fans are a great way to remove warm, moist air from kitchens or bathrooms. These rooms often have very poor ventilation with small windows that aren’t often opened. Using an extractor fan prevents these spaces from getting too humid and helps prevent damp and mould build up.
Add some indoor plants
Plants are natural air filters, during the day time they absorb carbon dioxide and through the process of photosynthesis convert it into oxygen. So not only do plants look beautiful in the home, but they can be a great way to improve air quality.
LockLatch to safely keep your windows open for maximum home ventilation
There is no denying that clean, crisp air can have a marked effect on your health and wellbeing, so there really is no better time to audit and improve the ventilation in your home. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a LockLatch, as it provides a universal solution for any type of home, regardless of the size or the style of windows and doors. Why not start making your space healthier with a LockLatch (or MiniLatch) today.