Breathe easy with proper ventilation

Breathe easy with proper ventilation

This month, with temperatures finally starting to cool down, I thought it was a good time to examine the importance of proper ventilation. We’ve touched on it in passing in previous newsletters, but this time, it’s the focus – hopefully you’ll learn something new to help make your home a healthier place for you and your family.

Let’s get down to basics. When people talk about ventilation, what exactly are they talking about? On the most straightforward level, ventilation is the intentional flow of air from outdoors to indoors (and back out). This can be as simple as air coming through a window, or as complex as a gadget-packed whole-house system.

So why is ventilation important? There’s air inside, there’s air outside… what difference does it make? In fact, there’s a whole host of reasons, including:

  • Reduced condensation. Ventilation is a key way to control moisture in the home. And moisture migration can lead to all kinds of nasty things – from aesthetic concerns like peeling wallpaper to more pressing issues like mould and mildew development (which we’ll go into in more detail further down).
  • Getting rid of allergens. If there’s insufficient airflow in your home, things like dust and pollen can get trapped indoors, leading to nasty allergic reactions if anyone in the family has sensitivities. Making sure that living spaces are well-ventilated means the whole family can breathe more easily!
  • Protecting everyone! You don’t have to have allergies to have your health affected by poor ventilation. Everything from smoke to bacteria to carbon dioxide and other gases can build up when they don’t have an easy way to escape, meaning that anyone can be at risk of complications from just breathing the air at home.

The health benefits are reason alone, but even the plain unpleasant effects of poor ventilation can be a real pain. Whether it’s the mirror fogging up after every shower, smoke lingering in the kitchen after a cooking experiment gone awry, or a damp corner of the house starting to take a turn for the worse, you don’t have to put up with it.

There’s one very simple way to make some headway towards better ventilation in your home, and it doesn’t require any fancy gadgets or installations.

Just open your doors and windows! It’s not always possible, of course, when it’s raining or especially windy, but allowing as much natural airflow in from the garden as possible is a great way to encourage air circulation.

Keeping interior doors open also helps – so if your moody teen keeps shutting themselves away in their room, you can use the ‘for the good of your health’ argument to get that door open!

If the weather’s too cold to leave windows open for a long period of time, it’s still worth airing things out for a few minutes at a time.

Keeping windows and doors open isn’t the be all and end all. Make sure that you’ve got extractor fans in your bathroom, laundry and kitchen, even if you’ve got an external window. You don’t want to have to keep the window wide open during your bath through all the winter months…

If you find that your situation still needs some help, it could be worth looking at a home ventilation system – the two main types are positive pressure heat transfer systems and balanced pressure heat recovery systems. Keep in mind that while you might see a small temperature increase, ventilation alone isn’t enough to keep your house warm in winter, and you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a heating solution in place too.

For people on the verge of selling their home, a property inspection report will indicate whether or not your ventilation is up to scratch – and you can sort out whether anything needs sorting out before going to market.

Remember: a ventilated home is a happy, healthy home. So protect your family’s wellbeing this winter and get serious about that airflow.

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