How Does Indoor Air Quality Change in the Winter?
Most of the winter, residents of Orlando look forward to some fresh air indoors, but there are times when winter indoor air quality suffers. Cold fronts do put the kibosh on open windows as do the overnight hours. Just like in the summer, when the house is closed up tightly, air quality starts to decline.
Causes of Poor Air Quality
Many homes are full of products that emit harmful gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs come from ordinary products used for house cleaning, laundry, home remodeling, cosmetics, air fresheners, attached garages, barbecues and vehicle exhaust. They come from new plastics, shower curtains and some fabrics. VOCs are such a concern because they cause respiratory irritations and sometimes more serious problems like flu-like symptoms, and even cancer and nervous system damage.
Natural and propane gas can also be an indoor air hazard if it’s not properly vented, which is why it’s important to have gas appliances, especially furnaces, inspected annually. Even a gas stove degrades winter indoor air quality. It emits trace amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and other harmful gases.
Managing Air Quality
- Open the windows when the air is mild enough to bring in fresh air.
- Have your gas furnace inspected by an HVAC pro each fall.
- Avoid using products high in VOCs. Alternatives are available. Look for the clean air label or low-VOC language. If you must use products with VOCs, do it when you can open the windows and run exhaust fans.
- Use kitchen fans when cooking with a gas stove.
- Consider installing an energy recovery ventilator (ERV). An ERV will give you fresh air year-round without the high heating or cooling costs. ERVs simultaneously pull out stale air while they pull in the same amount of fresh. They have a core that takes the energy out of the outgoing air and puts it into the fresh incoming air, which keeps energy bills low.
Keeping winter indoor air quality high leads to greater indoor comfort and enjoyment. To learn more, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orland-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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