Proper ventilation is one of the critical features for homes these days. It’s an effective and practical way to promote green living and sustainability even in urban environments. By allowing fresh outdoor air to come in, you can save up on electricity by avoiding the use of electrically driven appliances, such as air-conditioning units.
Ventilation has never been more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more people spend more time at home, they become more conscious of how to minimize the spread of the virus even indoors. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus causing the infectious disease known as COVID-19. The virus spreads mostly through airborne articles or human-to-human transmission.
Given the importance of natural ventilation, it’s not surprising why most homeowners are making conscious efforts to get the most of natural sources (e.g., air and sunlight) by installing window treatments such as modern window roller blinds. This allowed people to take full control over heat, glare, privacy, and access to outdoor air. In this article, we’ll discuss some basic measures to improve ventilation around your home with or without a pandemic.
Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen and the bathroom
The smell of food being cooked in the kitchen can simply make our mouths water. But once it reaches the entire house, the lingering lunch odor can sometimes annoy us. Installing exhaust fans in the kitchen helps in sending indoor air to the outside. This enhances airflow and prevents virus particles from concentrating in one place.
The same goes for the bathroom. The vent fan will draw out odors and moisture from the bathroom to improve air quality. Pests love taking shelter in places with high moisture, and excess moisture buildup in tight spaces increases the chances of mildew proliferation and dangerous mold.
Also, moisture can destroy your bathroom walls by letting the wallpaper and paint peel. Thus, installing vent fans in the bathroom protects not only your health but also the entire house. Exhaust fans also provide safety by removing the fumes produced by cleaning agents that potentially lead to severe health issues.
Filter air inside the house
If your home has an HVAC system with filters, then make sure to maintain its regular maintenance. Most heating and cooling systems aren’t enough to reduce indoor moisture, so consider buying a dehumidifier to reduce mold potential.
Maintenance for HVAC systems can be quite tricky, so experts strongly suggest focusing only on changing the air filter to avoid repair issues. Routinely changing air filters helps in improving air ventilation, especially if your house has issues with air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using pleated filters since they’re more efficient than the average furnace filters sold in hardware stores.
When installing, be sure the filter fits in the unit properly and change the filter at least every three months. You can further improve the ventilation system by hiring an HVAC professional annually to ensure it’s working properly. Those without an HVAC system at home but who need extra filtration should consider a portable HEPA cleaner. They’re great at trapping airborne particles that occupants exhale when talking, breathing, sneezing, coughing, and signing.
Open the doors and windows
If you don’t have the budget for home ventilation improvements, the best you can do is to open the doors and windows. When outdoor air feels drier and cooler than the air circulation at home, then open all your windows to let the fresh air come in.
If there isn’t enough wind, place the fan near the window to promote air movement. Multi-level homes should consider using the “chimney effect” or “stack effect” during colder nights for quality airflow. Do this by opening the window down low to provide access to cool air and put one high up to allow the warmer air out.
Late last year, CDC suggested placing fans nearby open windows to promote airflow. If a room is fully occupied, be sure to keep the fans on to prevent concentrated air from accumulating. This also helps in reducing COVID risks in cramped indoor environments.
Also, be wary when using the A/C unit when receiving guests. Placing the fan near the A/C unit pushes the air directly among occupants can be dangerous, especially if there’s one infected person in the room. Position the fan near the window to promote airflow across the room while pushing the indoor air toward the open door or window.
All homes need balanced ventilation. It provides fresh air and controlled airflow, lesser surface contamination, protection from the deadly virus, and health benefits. Following our suggestions above can help you discover other best practices for enhancing indoor air quality.