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How is Indoor Air Quality Affected by Colder Weather?

How is indoor air quality affected by colder weather?

The changing seasons can affect conditions indoors by worsening existing indoor air quality issues and introducing new ones.

It’s hard to deny the changing weather here in Western New York. Temperatures are starting to drop, leaves are falling, and the fall breezes are upon us. Many people love autumn because of the break it gives them from the extremely warm and humid days of summer, but to others, the change of season is a reminder of the winter and much colder weather to come. With the cold not only comes mittens and snow boots, it can also impact the air that we breathe. How is indoor air quality affected by colder weather?

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?

Most people in the United States spend about 90% of their time indoors, especially during the colder seasons of the year, which makes the air that we breathe during these times, more important than ever. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified poor indoor air quality as both a short- and long-term health risk to American homeowners.

According to the EPA, some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal.

Many experts believe that poor indoor air quality is a major contributor to indoor allergy symptoms, the spread of illness, and poor breathing.

How is Indoor Air Quality Affected by Colder Weather?

The changing seasons can affect conditions indoors by worsening existing indoor air quality issues and introducing new ones. Indoor air quality is affected by colder weather, because with the chillier days, comes much drier air, and, as we have reviewed before, dry air can affect your home and family’s health. Let’s review further some of the ways fall and winter can factor into your home’s indoor air quality.

– Humidity is lower in colder weather. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50%. In the late fall and winter months, if you don’t do anything to raise your home’s humidity, this level typically drops below 30%. Dry air impacts indoor air quality. Respiratory issues, sore throat, dry skin, higher stress levels, and risk of illness are all more common when indoor humidity levels are low.

– More time indoors and less airflow. With the fall season comes chillier weather and often more rainy and gray days. This weather can keep people indoors more and with their windows closed more often than in the summer months. With less natural ventilation, indoor air particles and germs have fewer circulation paths, meaning they can be trapped inside, which can directly impact your home’s indoor air quality.

– Common allergens are present. You may not realize it, but there are some common allergens that live in your home and can lead to allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. There are multiple major allergens that are rampant during the colder weather months. Mold and mildew, dust mites, and pet dander are all very common in the fall months, and can aggravate allergies more due to people and pets being inside more often.

– The beginning of cold and flu season. Cold and flu season is known as starting in the fall and going throughout the winter months. This is because people are inside more making airborne illnesses more likely to easily spread. As previously mentioned, the dry indoor air increases the risk of illness and being indoors and recirculating that air can allow the germs to spread throughout the entire household.

Indoor air quality is affected by colder weather and so is your home and family. There are things you can do in your Hamburg home to try and combat dry air and its impact on your home’s indoor air quality: use a humidifier, ensure your home is properly sealed, hydrate often, take short cool showers, moisturize, add plants to the space, and more.

At Duffett Plumbing, Heating, & AC, we can help you improve your home’s indoor air quality and keep the cold weather from impacting you and your family. Here’s the good news: you can do something about the air in your home. The team at Duffett specializes in a whole range of IAQ services, including installing air scrubbers and purifiers that are proven to clean the air in your home.

Duffett Plumbing, Heating & AC is your locally trusted home services team. We’re proud to provide the very best in heating and air conditioning in Hamburg, NY and Erie County. We’re also your full-service plumbing team. We’re available day or night. Contact us today.