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Indoor Air Quality Often Gets Worse in Winter

woman-with-allergiesThe outdoor temperature isn’t the only part of winter that becomes more difficult. Winter is also a season when indoor air quality for homes suffers steep drops. Poor IAQ can strike at any time of the year (spring brings serious allergy problems), but the issue is most consistent and predictable during the coldest months of the year.

Why Indoor Air Quality Drops in Winter

You probably think of winter as a time when colds and cases of flu are more common. This is true, and you would still have to face various illnesses during the season no matter the quality of your home’s air. But there are specific reasons for the negative impact on household air at this time—lack of fresh air circulation and unhealthy contaminants trapped indoors.

Modern houses are built for improved home performance, which means better all-around efficiency. An important part of home performance is sealing air leaks to avoid heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This is good news for your heating bills, since you won’t need to run the furnace or other heating system all the time to make up for the escaped heat. But it’s terrible news for IAQ, because it means there’s little fresh air circulating through the house to replace the stuffy indoor air and sweep away unhealthy pollutants. Your house becomes a trap for numerous airborne contaminants that will continue to build up.

Making the winter situation worse is the extra amount of contaminants inside a home at the time. You do more cooking, there’s more combustion products and cleaning going on, and there are more people visiting who can bring in germs and viruses. Because humidity often drops during winter, it’s easier for illnesses to spread around a house because of dried sinuses.

What You Can Do for Better IAQ in Winter

Aside from opening up the windows and doors during the milder stretches—provided you can tolerate it and you shut off the heating system to avoid energy waste—most of the steps you can take for better winter IAQ is to have air quality devices installed. Here are our recommendations:

  • Energy/heat recovery ventilator: These systems allow for fresh air flow into a house while exhausting the stale air without placing extra strain on the heating system. ERVs and HRVs pre-heat the incoming air using the outgoing air. They also work in reverse during warm weather.
  • UV air purifiers: This is one of the best defenses against illness in a house. UV lights installed into the HVAC system kill organic pollutants without placing any chemicals into the air. They last for a long time and require little maintenance.
  • Whole-house humidifier: Since dry air in a house leads to numerous problems, attack it at the source with a whole-house humidifier. These devices give homeowners more control over humidity levels during dry conditions so the house doesn’t become too humid.

You can trust Comfort Master as the Chapel Hill, NC, HVAC service company to boost your air quality this winter—and every season.

Enjoy the comfort you deserve: call Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for service in the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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