As we collectively reach for our blankets, chunky knits and slippers we automatically reduce the amount of time we keep our windows open, for some it’s a permanent closure until march, especially in the bedroom where all we want is comfort.
The upsides are of course warmth and saving energy, particularly with A+ rated windows, however parallel to this you are unknowingly trapping pollutants which are ultimately lowering your Indoor Air Quality. Indoor air pollution has been ranked by the EPA as one of the top five environmental risks to public health, stating mould, dust mites, pests, pet dander and second hand smoke among the top air pollutants to jeopardise Indoor air quality. According to The British Lung Foundation poor indoor air quality has been linked to lung diseases such as asthma, COPD and even lung cancer; common causes include how you cook and how you heat and clean your home. Chemicals in cleaning products especially can linger in the air to prolong periods of time without proper ventilation. A study published in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, which followed more than 6,000 people over a 20 year period, concluded that women, in particular, women who regularly clean at home or as an occupation, had an accelerated decline in the volume of air that could be forced out in one second after taking a deep breath (FEV) & the volume of air that could forcibly be blown out after full inspiration (FVC). The scientists who carried out the study advised that it’s worth trialling simple microfibre cloths and water first where possible to avoid being exposed to unnecessary pollutants.
So what else can we do to help the air in our homes is probably your trail of thought right now. Well as simple as it sounds, a short burst of fresh air daily significantly reduces indoor pollution, bringing in fresh air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and simultaneously carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. Even it the bitter cold, a few minutes opened will create a cross-draught so old, damp air can exit and be replaced with clean, fresh air. It’s also valuable to ventilate your property once the heating system gets turned off, whether it’s opening a window before leaving the house or going to bed, it will alleviate condensation that will prevent a whole host of issues further down the line. Finally, if you can handle it, leaving the slightest opening in your window overnight will make the air circulating your room more comfortable.
Yes, you will be losing some energy, but the health benefits you get from bringing fresh air into your home is unparallel and most definitely worth it.