As we approach colder weather, our homes are often shut up a little bit tighter than they are in warmer summer weather. Opening up a window to let in some fresh air is all well and good when the temperature outside is nearly the same as it is inside, but when that temperature starts to drop it can be a long time before a fresh breeze is allowed into the home again.
Unsurprisingly, this is also around the time of year that colds and flus are caught and spread among the population. When we shut up our homes, we need to pay attention to the indoor air quality of the home, or it can cause us some real problems. Here’s what to look for.
The relative humidity of the home in the summer should stay at or below 50% humidity. This will discourage mould growth, dust mite infestations, and the spread of bacteria. During the winter, the relative humidity of the home can go even lower. Keeping it at 30 – 40% is typically recommended for healthier indoor air. If your windows are fogging up in the winter time, your homes humidity is still too high, and might have a ventilation problem to address.
Before you ever see mould buildup, you will smell it. Air that smells musty, earthy, or mossy is a huge indicator that your home has an indoor air quality problem. Check problem areas like windows, or bathroom tiles. Look for discoloration or dark markings in the corners of the home, or where airflow is otherwise restricted. Do not wait until a spring-cleaning to tackle a mould problem. Get it early, and keep your home safe.
You’ve checked the humidity. Your tiles and carpets are clean. There’s no musty smell in the house… But your family keeps catching cold. Now sometimes this isn’t an air quality issue. People can still get sick when the air is nice, but if you are noticing the people in your household come down with a flu more regularly than your neighbours, then it might be time to perform an inspection. Leaky vents, inefficient filters, or even exposure to an odorless gas could be wreaking havoc on the immune systems of everyone in the house. Don’t panic, but do consider calling someone for help. An HVAC specialist who can diagnose the quality of the air in each room will be able to assure you whether you have healthy air, or a problem that needs fixing.