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Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter Months

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Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter Months

After decades of neglect by the homebuilding industry, indoor air quality is finally getting some much-deserved airtime. It even has its own nickname: IAQ. Building scientists and progressive architects and builders now focus on air quality as a standard design factor, planning for things like all-season ventilation, reduction of pollutants and safe use of combustion appliances. The same measures can help keep your IAQ in good shape in the winter and throughout the year.

Winter is Worst for Air Quality

If you have one of those smart-aleck dads who, upon finding a door left open in winter, would comment, “What’re you trying to do, heat the outdoors?” you already have an idea of why air quality suffers most in the winter. Most homes are built with no means for bringing in fresh air apart from open doors and windows. In older homes, window leaks and other openings supply a small but constant air exchange with the outdoors—perhaps the only advantage of a poorly weather-sealed home. In newer, more airtight, homes, bathroom and kitchen vent fans routinely send air out of the house, while nothing is letting fresh air in. This not only reduces the effectiveness of the fans, it also means that moisture and pollutants (not to mention odors) are trapped inside the house in higher concentrations during the winter. Compounding the problem is the fact that we seldom go outside during the wintertime.

“Eliminate, Isolate and Ventilate”

This phrase is commonly used by building pros to summarize the steps for improving IAQ. An expanded version goes something like this: Eliminate unnecessary chemicals and other pollutants in and around the home; Isolate any pollutants that you can’t eliminate to keep them out of your living space; Ventilate the home effectively to rid the living space of pollutants and excess moisture, and to bring fresh air inside. (Too much moisture is bad for you and your home because it promotes mold growth, among other problems.)

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3:30PM PST on Mar 11, 2011

Thanks for the article

10:51AM PST on Mar 11, 2011

thanks for the info...

9:02AM PST on Mar 10, 2011

I always open windows at least 15mim/twice a day

8:53PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

I always open my windows at least 10 mins. a day, especially the ones in the bedrooms.

5:46AM PST on Mar 3, 2011

It makes sense to open windows during winter months as it's said fresh air is easier to heat than stale. I've always aired the house out during winter months.

3:24PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Go buy yourself some air cleaning plants that will brighten you life and by easter you will be able to share them with your friends all dressed up in tiny eggs, little bows and a small candy. Plants are natures Air Freshners.

6:51AM PST on Feb 27, 2011

My bedroom window is always open for fresh air all year round, apart from very windy days when it slams shut, I am also lucky enough to have a small vent over all my windows which I keep open and supprisinly doesn't cause a draft at all

4:32PM PST on Feb 18, 2011

thanks for the info

10:21PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

useful tips and thanx for information

10:16AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Good to know! Thank you! I try to open my windows when it's "nicer" out and I use the Green works products in the hope that they help, with the indoors and out!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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thanks, my wife might appreciate a few of these, too


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