January 18 2019 – Christopher Bezzina
Since sickness, moisture problems and structural issues increase significantly during the colder months, its time to make sure that we are prepared for these problems in the home with the use of a dehumidifier.
Why Colder Weather Contributes To Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality
Ironically, people tend to worry about what’s happening outdoors when the weather is bad when the air indoors is almost always worse for you and your family.
Because homes are built to hold heat in during the winter months and keep heat out during the summer, when the temperature starts to drop, we become more conscious of the cracks in insulation that often welcome cold drafts into the home. As a result, further insulation is carried out to increase comfort (or so we think) and stop the cold from outside entering our homes.
However, this seals off the home from any fresh air from the outside and raises the likelihood of impurities in the air. When these impurities cannot escape the home, they gather and multiply quickly because they thrive in moisture. These include dust mites, mould spores and other impurities that can very easily impact those with respiratory problems and a weakened immune system.
The air in all our homes holds moisture to some degree; showering, cooking, drying laundry and even breathing are just some of the tasks that we do every day that add moisture to the air that has to end up somewhere.
If we add bathing, boiling kettles and ironing into the mix, all of which are typically part of our daily routine, a household of one person will produce approximately 1.5 litres of water a day. If we look at this over a week that contributes to 10.5 litres just for one person! That’s the equivalent of 18 pints of water per week!
Like we touched on earlier, before, when homes weren’t built like sealed boxes to hold heat in it could escape through gaps in windows, lofts and cracks in walls where it would be replaced with fresh air from the outside. Alas, because homes are built to have no natural escape route this trapped air only makes the problem worse and creates unhealthy indoor air quality through the build-up of excess moisture.
What Are The Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality Warning Signs?
The impact unhealthy indoor air quality can have on a home, and the people in it can cause acute and chronic illnesses and, in extreme cases, fatalities so it is important to control and maintain the right humidity level in the home.
While not enough humidity can cause some discomfort issues like dry irritated eyes and cracked itchy skin, too much moisture can lead to some serious health issues like:
- Allergies and Asthma
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Congestion
What method you choose to remove moisture from the home to prevent these symptoms depends on the severity of the problem and the season. However, with cold weather forecast, using a dehumidifier will not only allow you to adjust and monitor humidity in the home but to reach the ideal level despite the weather.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
It almost goes without saying that increasing ventilation in a home through the use of a dehumidifier is an easy and effective way to control our indoor air quality by trapping unhealthy air and impurities into the dehumidifier and circulating clean, healthy air – free from moisture – back into our homes.
Whole-home dehumidifiers do not just trap pollutants and irritants from the home, but also make room for better air to be introduced. A dehumidifier increases the amount of healthy air within the home through the process of extracting; a fan pulls air from the home into the dehumidifier through a filter at one end, takes moisture out of the air as it passes through the dehumidifier and blows cleaner, filtered air back out into the room again.
Despite the common misconception that turning the heating on and closing windows and doors will reduce humidity in winter, warm air actually carries more moisture and could be doing you and your home more bad than good. Doing this significantly reduces air circulation and causes excess moisture to become trapped indoors with nowhere to escape.
Good air circulation – even in winter – will allow excess moisture to escape and is essential to warding off illness. So, ventilate, ventilate, ventilate.
For an immediate and permanent solution, using a dehumidifier will successfully control and maintain the right humidity level in the home by extracting excess moisture from the air and replacing it with cleaner, healthier air.