It feels so good to breathe that fresh mountain air, doesn't it? Just open up those windows and let it rush in...right? Not quite.
If you're relying on open windows to ventilate your home, you're probably still breathing stale, polluted air whenever you're indoors. Vapor from the countertop cleaner you just used in the kitchen, exhaust from the street outside, humidity from your morning shower...it's all sticking around.
Why we ventilate our homes
It feels icky to breathe bad air. If you've ever painted a room and started getting woozy, or tried to function during allergy season, you'll know what I'm talking about. We mitigate this by exchanging stale, chemical-filled air with clean, diluted air from the outside. Not only does ventilating our homes make spending time indoors more comfortable, it protects us from all sorts of negative health consequences.
Here's a quick rundown of what might be lurking inside your home:
VOCs and formaldehyde from mattresses, furniture, cabinets and carpets
Water vapor from showering, washing dishes, doing laundry and cooking
Mold spores from excess humidity
Chemical fumes from your garage or cleaning products
Carbon monoxide from combustion appliances
Radon, soil gases and termiticides from an unsealed crawl space
And so on and so on... Breathing large concentrations of pollutants like these (particularly over long periods of time) can lead to everything from eye irritation and asthma to respiratory disease and cancer. If you live in Wyoming or Colorado, you're probably experiencing these seasonal irritations already.
Why opening your windows isn't enough
Open windows don't automatically mean clean air is coming indoors. Sure, that outdoor air is likely to be more diluted (meaning unhealthy chemical particles are less concentrated), but it probably isn't as fresh as you think.
Outdoor air often carries:
Dust and dirt (Wyoming residents, we know the struggle)
Pollen and other natural allergens (those Colorado wildflowers aren't always nice)
Atmospheric pollutants from cars, chimneys and energy plants
Pollutants like these found in outdoor air come inside through openings in your home's structure and linger, sticking to carpet, furniture, clothing and curtains. Once they're inside they stay inside, unless you get them out.
How to increase air exchange and freshen indoor air
Houses need air exchange to remove bad air and replace it with clean air. To do this, you need to ventilate in a controlled manner. In Wyoming and Colorado, the best ventilation solution is a whole house fan.
Whole house fans are typically installed in the ceiling or attic level of the house. They work by drawing hot, polluted air from the house into the attic and then outside through ridge or gable vents. The empty space, or vacuum, left behind is filled naturally by cool, fresh air from outside the home. Not only does this improve indoor air quality, it actually cools the house down during warmer months!
Compared to a central air conditioner, a whole house fan works very quickly. You'll be able to feel the cooling effect in minutes! It's also very environmentally-friendly and costs a quarter of what you're probably spending on air conditioning right now.
Sound like just what you've been needing? Get in touch! We'll hook you up.