Maintaining your indoor air quality during winter is essential to remove toxins that build up from space heaters, wood stoves, and burning candles. You open your windows less often during wintertime, and when you do, it’s important not to let the indoor heat escape. So how can you keep your house ventilated in winter?
Here are 10 ways to keep your house ventilated in winter:
- Use heat recovery ventilators
- Open your windows
- Install air purifiers
- Reduce clutter and furniture
- Make good use of your fans
- Heat and ventilate unused rooms
- Use plants
- Purchase a hygrometer
- Switch your fans to winter mode
- Use intelligent thermostats
- Check your appliances
This article will expound on these incredible ways of keeping your house ventilated in winter. So if you’ve been struggling with wintertime ventilation, read on.
1. Use Heat Recovery Ventilators
You need to ventilate your house as much as you heat it during winter. If you turn on your heater frequently, you’ll also need to ventilate your home often. Opening your doors and windows won’t work in severely cold areas, and this is where a heat recovery ventilator comes in.
A heat recovery ventilator uses the heat of the outgoing indoor air to warm the cold fresh air coming from outside. It features two fans and a heat exchanger core.
One fan takes out the warm household air, and the other fan brings in the fresh air. The heat exchanger core transfers heat from the outgoing airstream to the incoming fresh and cold air stream. The working principle is similar to how your car radiator transfers heat from the engine’s coolant to the air outside.
Nearly 40% of the heating cost is lost to air infiltration, which results in extremely high heating costs. Although you might turn to seal as the first line of defense, what about air quality? Why not treat heating and ventilation as one process?
But there is a difference between heat recovery systems and energy recovery systems. An energy recovery system transfers heat and moisture, while a heat recovery system only transfers heat.
According to the US Department of Energy, heat and energy recovery systems are the most energy-efficient ventilation systems for areas with extreme winters and summers.
Depending on the model, a heat recovery ventilator can recover more than 85% of heat from the household air. It will also come with an air filter to trap particulate pollutants like dust and pollen, making it a compelling alternative to opening windows or running heaters and ventilators separately.
This YouTube video explains how heat recovery systems work.
Read: Does A Furnace Room Need Ventilation?
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2. Open Your Windows and Doors
I know it may sound absurd to open your windows and doors in winter, but it doesn’t have to last the whole day as in summer.
Open windows on both ends of your house, and the polluted air inside will flow out in no time.
However, it would help if you were careful to notice when chill air begins to flow in. Don’t let too much cold air in to necessitate heating after closing your windows.
Read: Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?
3. Install Air Purifiers
Air purifiers sanitize the air in your house by removing pollutants and toxins. They’re the opposite of oil diffusers and humidifiers that operate by adding particles to a room.
Air purifiers and air filters are also different. While air filters only remove particles from the air, air purifiers sanitize them too.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on its ability to collect pollutants from a room and how much air it draws through its filtering element.
Therefore, you’d want to buy a highly efficient air purifier and position it where it draws maximum air. Its location should be free of clutter and furniture.
The downside of air purifiers is their high energy consumption rates and working inefficiencies. Most air purifiers cannot draw the much-needed air volume through the filtering element. Therefore, you might need to operate them for an extended period to sufficiently purify indoor air.
4. Reduce Clutter and the Amount of Furniture in Your House
Well-spaced furniture will reduce the accumulation of polluted air in the house. It will also improve the flow of fresh air throughout your rooms, reducing the number of times you ventilate them.
Cluttered areas are prone to develop molds and gather dust, thereby contaminating your indoor air.
Cramping up furniture pieces or laundry items in a room will block fresh air from reaching every corner, meaning your home will still feel damp and stuffy even after long hours of ventilation.
Read: What Is The Cheapest Way To Insulate A Garage Ceiling?
5. Make Good Use of Your Fans
Make good use of fans already in your house. Kitchen and bathroom fans help draw out excess moisture in the air, which helps reduce the development of molds and germs floating in the air.
Ceiling fans will also come in handy when you open your doors and windows. They’ll force out contaminated household air.
I recommend adjusting them to a higher setting to push the air out faster. This will reduce the time your windows and doors remain open as you don’t want to lose all the heat in your house.
A box fan will come in handy for rooms and points within your hose where it’s harder to ventilate, say the basement.
Check out this PELONIS 3-Speed Box Fan I found on Amazon.com. It has a lightweight design and comes with a 3-speed fan control setting to help control how you ventilate your house in winter.
Read: What Affects Indoor Air Quality?
6. Heat and Ventilate Unused Rooms
You tend to heat and ventilate unused rooms less, meaning they’ll be colder and damper than other rooms. This tends to increase the risk of molds. However, heating them every day is uneconomical.
The best alternative would be installing an electric actuator on your radiators and setting the temperature slightly lower than in rooms you regularly use.
Also, it would help if you closed doors and openings between rooms with different temperature settings when ventilating. This will reduce the condensation of warm air in spaces with lower temperature settings.
7. Use Plants That Purify the Air
Plants are more than aesthetic accessories in a house. Plants help clean and purify the air in your home, creating a healthier environment. Besides providing shade, plants provide natural air conditioning by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
So you can place a few potted plants in rooms where you spend a lot of time. Some of the plants known to purify indoor air include:
- English Ivy
- Barberton Daisy
- Snake Plant
- Dragon Tree
- Aloe Vera
- Spider Plant
Read: Why Are HVAC Vents Under Windows?
8. Purchase a Hygrometer
A high-quality hygrometer will help you keep track of humidity levels in your house. The handy device informs you of indoor humidity levels, which allows you to know when to use a humidifier.
The optimal indoor humidity rate should be between 40 and 50%. Check that on your hydrometer and act accordingly if the levels fall or surpass the optimum.
9. Switch Your Summer Fans to Winter Mode
Some fans come with a reverse mode where you can change their blades’ direction. Trip the switch on the fan’s mechanism to change the blades’ direction if you have such.
Reversing your fans’ blade direction sucks up cold air and pushes down warm air giving your room a comfortable airflow. This ventilating pattern makes the air inside remain fresh for a long time.
10. Invest in Intelligent Thermostats To Regulate Heating
Thermostats normally regulate heating, whether in oil, gas, or electric-powered heaters. They activate heating if the room temperature falls below the target temperature and stop heating when it goes above the target temperature.
Smart thermostats recognize when you’re airing your house. If the temperature falls, for example, by 2°C (35.6°F), they detect the airing cycle and stop momentarily instead of frantically activating the heating command.
They also recognize when a room is unused for some time. It wouldn’t make any sense to heat a room throughout the day when you’re not home. Therefore, intelligent thermostats reduce the heating cycles if you aren’t home for some time.
On the other hand, intelligent thermostats won’t let your house temperature sink too much during a long absence. They make your house as comfortable as possible instead.
11. Check Your Appliances Frequently
Check your heaters and ventilators to ensure they’re working perfectly and not leaking anywhere. Wood-burning stoves, furnaces, and furnaces are typical culprits of suffocation and death during winter.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a ‘silent killer,’ You should be careful to ventilate your house when heating. I recommend checking if your ventilators are working before putting on your wood-burning stove or gasoline heater.
Why not call in a technician to check your heating and ventilation systems before winter?
Although tricky, keeping your house ventilated in winter shouldn’t prove too hard. The trick is to use devices like heat recovery ventilators, air purifiers, and even hygrometers to help you ventilate your household.
You can also reduce clutter, use plants and even open up your doors and windows (when convenient) to keep indoor air fresh during the winter.