Being trapped indoors all winter can quickly affect your health. Homes today are built with high-quality insulation meant to fully shield your family from the outside world. While this insulation dramatically boosts energy efficiency, it also traps you in a home filled with pollutants and airborne debris. Constant exposure to pollen, dust mites, and dirt makes it impossible to feel comfortable or keep your living space clean. Keep reading to learn how cold weather can worsen your indoor air quality.
Significance of Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality refers to the quality and safety of the air in and around your home. After initially being exposed to contaminants, you may experience fatigue, dizziness, skin irritation, or dry eyes. Younger family members and those with existing medical conditions are at the highest risk of respiratory distress and infections.
Living in an environment with perpetually poor air quality can lead to irreversible changes to your body and health. Prolonged exposure to dangerous chemicals and fumes can cause you to develop lung complications, heart disease, or even cancer. Keeping your home free of fungal spores, bacteria, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is vital to protecting your family’s health.
How Weather Impacts Air
Several elements affect how the cold weather temperatures and precipitation will impact your indoor air quality. Low temperatures and high-pressure weather systems can create a local pollution peak that directly harms your home’s safety.
Increased Indoor Pollutants
The presence of freezing temperatures means you’re keeping your windows and doors shut until spring rolls around. Without ventilation, more debris, spores, and hair are left to circulate in your ducts and HVAC system. This also worsens the impact of VOCs that are released when you use your fireplace, cook, burn candles, or even clean with chemical-based sprays. The home will eventually become saturated with fumes, dead skin, mold, pollen, and mites.
HVAC System Use
Many homes use furnaces to provide heat during cold winter days. Gas appliances, in particular, can release finite amounts of carbon monoxide into the air. Frequent, prolonged exposure to this scentless gas can lead to dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, and shortness of breath. Older furnaces are at a higher risk of breaking down suddenly and releasing large amounts of carbon monoxide.
Temperature and Air Pressure
Outdoor air is always moving, transporting pollutants from one area to another. Low-pressure systems often bring heavy winds and rain storms that sweep away pollution, leaving clear skies behind. Low-pressure weather systems are common during the summer, while high-pressure systems happen during the winter. High-pressure weather creates stagnant air that allows contaminants to build up to unhealthy levels. When the air isn’t moving, excessive amounts of exhaust and factory pollution will hover over your home.
Protecting Your Air Quality
Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect your air quality during the winter. You can start by keeping track of your air quality over time. Monitor the presence of visible debris in the air around your home. Keep careful watch of your family’s health in case they start experiencing unexplained cold-like symptoms.
Minimize airborne pollutants in the home by following a strict cleaning routine. Vacuum and dust every room at least once a week, if not more, if you have pets. Wipe down your vents and registers regularly to stop dust from blowing into the room. Use HVAC filters with high MERV ratings to remove more debris from the air. You can also improve your daily habits by limiting your use of harmful chemicals and routinely turning on your ceiling and exhaust fans.
Air purification systems are a wonderful way to maintain your air quality all year long. These systems can be installed inside your HVAC system, so they have access to all of your breathing air. Air purifiers limit the spread of germs and bacteria that would otherwise reproduce and infiltrate your home.
Comprehensive HVAC Services
Since 2004, Midwest Mechanical has been delivering superior heating and cooling services to families in Wichita, KS. Our NATE-certified technicians have years of experience completing HVAC repairs, maintenance, and installations. We carry new and improved furnaces and air conditioners that can improve your indoor air quality and overall comfort. Along with helpful indoor air quality solutions, we can also help you with plumbing concerns like leaky pipes and water heater repairs. Schedule an appointment with Midwest Mechanical in Wichita today.