By: Josh Walejewski
Read Time: 3-4 Minutes
Winters in Wisconsin can often feel never-ending. As soon as we think we have made a turn towards warmer trends, Wisconsin hits us with a reality check, reminding us just how much of a roller coaster ride our springs can be.
In fact, 33 years ago, southeastern Wisconsin was hit by a rare snowstorm! On May 10, 1990, several inches of snow fell across areas, with some locations reporting up to 8 inches of accumulation! To this day, it is the latest snowstorm on record in our area (hopefully it stays that way).
Benefits of Using Fresh Air for a Healthier Home
While spring has its ups and downs, it is a welcome time of year for many of us to finally open our windows and let fresh air fill our homes. There are many benefits to replacing the stale winter air in our homes with fresh outdoor air. Here are a few eye-opening stats:
- Per the EPA, the average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.
- The American Lung Association estimates that the average person takes 22,000 breaths a day.
- Levels of indoor air pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor air. This can lead to a range of health issues including headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
- In the US, indoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated 50% of all illnesses.
- Studies have shown that increasing ventilation rates can help to reduce the risk of airborne disease transmission such as influenza viruses.
Optimize Window Ventilation
Have you ever opened a few windows to let in the fresh air and found that not much air is entering your home? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to try to optimize window ventilation and ensure fresh air circulates throughout your home.
Opening windows on opposite sides of your home is an effective way to create cross-ventilation, which can aid in removing stagnant air and pollutants. If you want to take this a step further, try using fans. Place a fan facing inside in a window on the intake side of the home. Add another fan in a window on the opposite end of the home with the fan facing outward. Doing so can create an even stronger flow of fresh air and improve overall comfort. These simple techniques can allow you to maximize the benefits of window ventilation and enhance indoor air quality in your home.
However, opening windows isn’t always an ideal solution for everyone, especially for those who may suffer from allergies or live near a farm field/dirt road where dust is an issue. For these households, opening the windows may do more harm than good. If you wish to reap the benefits of fresh air all year long without opening the windows, there are a few solutions you can consider.
Heat Recovery Ventilators
A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is a device that improves indoor air quality and reduces energy consumption in your home. It works by exchanging stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air while also recovering some of the heat from the outgoing air to preheat the incoming air.
The HRV typically consists of two separate air ducts – one that brings fresh outdoor air into the home and another that removes stale indoor air. The two air streams pass through a heat exchanger within the HRV unit, which transfers some of the heat from the outgoing air to the incoming air, preheating it before it enters the home. This process reduces the amount of energy needed to heat the incoming air during the winter months.
At the same time, the HRV also reduces humidity levels in the home by removing excess moisture from the air. This can prevent moisture from forming on windows, reduce mold growth and improve indoor air quality. In the summer, the HRV can also cool the incoming air by pre-cooling it with the outgoing air.
Fresh Air Intakes
A Fresh air intake is a ventilation system that brings in outside air into a building’s HVAC system. The purpose of fresh air intake is to provide a home or building with a constant supply of fresh air.
These units typically consist of a duct or grille located on the exterior of the building that is connected to the HVAC system. When the HVAC system is running, a fresh air intake allows outside air to enter the system and mix with the air inside the building. This dilutes any indoor air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other potentially harmful contaminants.
Fresh air intakes are particularly important in buildings that are tightly sealed, as they ensure there is a constant supply of fresh air, even when windows and doors are closed. These units can be a great solution for anyone looking to bring fresh air inside, regardless of the time of year.
Improving indoor air quality is necessary for our health and well-being, as we spend a significant amount of time indoors. Simple strategies like opening windows and creating cross ventilation can certainly improve your air quality, while options like heat recovery ventilators and fresh air intakes can provide a constant supply of fresh air all year long. By implementing these solutions, we can breathe easy and enjoy a healthier and more comfortable home.
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About the Author
Josh is a professional marketer who has worked in the HVAC industry since 2017. With a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree (B.A.A.S) in marketing and sustainable business management from the University of Wisconsin, he has a passion for all aspects of HVAC, business, marketing, and environmental stewardship.