If you’re wondering whether you should keep your windows completely closed due to COVID-19, the answer is an emphatic no; open them!
According to study, the average apartment’s — or home’s — interior air quality (IAQ) is worse than the external air quality, which often includes extremely polluted urban areas such as Beijing or London.
How long should you air out your house each day? Daily, between 15 and 30 minutes, you should air out your flat, as the air inside an apartment is frequently more contaminated than the air outside. Pollutants from cooking and home cleaning goods, as well as mold and fungal spores, will accumulate in your residence. These variables necessitate daily airing of your house unit.
We’re all very certain that many people will remember these years as the years of the virus, given how little else has been discussed. Distancing from others, regular handwashing, and lockdowns have become the norm.
While attempting to decrease the potential of infectious airborne viruses, by failing to ventilate your house, you may be doing more damage than good. We’ll discuss how frequently you should ventilate your residence in this post.
What About The COVID-19 Issue?
The fear may be that simply living in relatively close contact to people in an apartment environment, opening windows and doors to ventilate the unit may expose you to the virus’s transmission.
What are the possibilities that contaminated droplets may enter your flat through your windows or front door? The straightforward truth is that no one knows for certain.
COVID-19 is mostly transferred by droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. This virus may be active for a few hours or several days—at this point, no one knows.
As a result, it is essential to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and disinfect objects that receive a lot of contact, such as TV remotes, door knobs, and mobile phones.
Apart from these fundamental safeguards, whether you strive to isolate yourself from the rest of society depends on your level of germaphobia.
Why Should You Ventilate?
There are maybe three primary reasons to air your house on a daily basis.
To begin, to let volatile chemicals emitted by furniture, electronics, and cleaning supplies to disperse.
Second, to disperse odors generated by cooking and other forms of combustion (smoking, fireplaces, and candles). Third, to remove moisture and humidity that collects in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as from our breathing and sweat.
If not allowed to dissipate, this humidity condenses and forms mold and fungus in closets, on walls, and on cold surfaces.
For the same reason, bedding should be aired often, preferably by hanging it out the window like the Italians do. This, however, often requires a sunny environment.
Sunshine has a natural bleaching effect due to the UV rays — which is why colors fade in the sun — and is an extremely effective natural disinfectant without the need of harsh chemicals found in home bleach.
Indeed, air-drying is the safest and healthiest method of drying most objects, which is why the “airing closet” is so popular in many UK households.
This room houses the apartment’s or home’s geyser or hot water tank and serves as a convenient and low-cost method of air-drying damp items. Additionally, it serves as a convenient storage area for towels and linen, ensuring that they remain dry and fresh.
The Primary Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
It’s not comfortable to consider one’s apartment—home—as one’s filthy. The reality is that it is.
The majority of academics believe that the quality of indoor air in the majority of houses is significantly poorer than the quality of outside air — up to five times lower in some cases.
This is not unique to residences. According to a 2018 study of many London schools, children are exposed to higher amounts of harmful pollution inside the classroom than outside.
However, the research acknowledged that the pollution was mostly produced by external pollution from motor vehicle exhausts permeating the buildings and that the problem would not be fixed simply by opening and closing windows and doors.
The pollution sources themselves required to be eliminated; thus, what are the primary causes within the home?
Indoor air pollution is not often as well known — or acknowledged — as outside pollution, which is typically more apparent, such as exhaust smoke billowing from a semi-trailer or pollution from an industrial chimney or coal-fired power plant.
Given that we spend up to 90% of our time inside, it’s prudent to be aware of potential pollutants in the air we breathe.
Indoor pollution comes in a variety of forms. Some are self-evident and come to mind immediately: cigarette smoke and some household cleaning products such as ammonia and caustic soda, for example.
Others are less noticeable or visible: ozone, nitrogen oxides, bio-aerosols, spores, fungus, and mold in areas where dust and moisture build, such as closets and bathrooms.
Floor and wall coverings, shower curtains, adhesives, toys, and cosmetics, as well as pet dander — small flecks of skin and hair shed by cats, dogs, and other hairy and feathery pets — are all common causes of home pollution. Their influence on health also varies according on an individual’s sensitivity to allergies and respiratory disorders such as asthma, and the majority of home pollution may be avoided with a consistent regimen of cleaning, hygiene, and avoidance.
The age of the structure does not always determine whether the air is contaminated or not, as long as it is appropriately ventilated, either naturally via the opening of windows and doors or artificially through the use of an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.
According to the World Health Organization, difficulties associated with inhaling unclean indoor air cause approximately four million premature deaths each year, primarily in underdeveloped nations that continue to rely on coal and wood for internal heating and cooking.
If you enjoy kindling a raging log fire on a cold winter evening, you would be wise to air your home the following morning. Not only would a log fire evacuate hazardous gases that accumulate in a closed environment due to combustion, but it will also ventilate the stench of wood and coal smoke, which is an unavoidable byproduct of those pleasant hearths.
If your everyday cooking operations on a gas stove are not correctly vented, the impacts of air pollution might be just as detrimental. Nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide are produced during gas cooking. Unless occupants vent these gases outside—typically through a range hood—they will inhale them, irritating the lungs in a similar manner to automobile exhaust.
The same caution applies to certain cleaning products that include VOCs, air fresheners, personal care items, and even scented candles.
Take extra care to prevent the accumulation of toxic substances in closets where these goods are stored.
Take note of the labeling. In a very real sense, keeping your flat clean using these things may be detrimental to your health in other ways.
How long should you air out your house each day?
This demonstrates how critical it is to regularly ventilate your living rooms with fresh outdoor air. The data suggests that as little as 5 to 15 minutes each day—up to an hour, weather permitting—may be sufficient to appropriately ventilate a flat.
This ventilation method is as simple as opening a window or windows on opposing sides of the apartment—or the front door—to produce a through-draft of fresh air throughout.
How to air out your house?
Turn on the fans
- Maximize your ventilation and comfort: By counter-clockwise rotating ceiling fans, you can increase circulation and generate a wind-chill effect that will help you and your family feel cooler. When not in use, turn off motors.
- Take advantage: If the outside air is chilly, open windows and use a portable fan inside to bring in cool air. Are you still perspiring? Arrange a basin of ice water strategically in front of the breeze for a “cold” effect.
- Switch on the kitchen or bathroom fan: To exhaust heated air from your home.
- Consider the long term: Whole house fans are simple to install and may significantly increase ventilation. Simply open windows and expel heated interior air via roof vents. They consume 90% less energy than your HVAC system and may totally replace it in cool, dry areas. There are federal, state, and municipal rebates and incentives available.
- Consider going the extra mile: Add an attic fan to better insulate your living area from heat gain. Heat is absorbed from your roof and becomes trapped in your attic, maintaining a high temperature in your house even after the nighttime air cools.
Keep it natural
- Crack open the windows: Before you go to bed, open the windows in your home. This is an excellent method to organically ventilate. Simply remember to close all doors and windows before the mercury rises too high in the morning.
- Construct a wind tunnel: By carefully opening windows or installing fans, a cross breeze may be created.
Prepare in advance
- If ventilation alone is insufficient, you may need to reconsider your strategies: Can you operate the laundry, dishwasher, or bake food in the morning before temps rise?
- When you cook, do you complete your prep work (slicing, chopping, and mixing) before turning up the heat?
- Have you considered using a microwave or grill to keep the temperature and humidity in check?
- Consume seasonal cuisine such as salads, fresh veggies, and cold soups.
- If none of above works, use the best air purifiers to clean your home.