Should I Open My Windows in Winter?

January 4, 2022 3:33 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As colder temperatures roll in, you might be tempted to put on your slippers, get in some comfy clothes and keep the windows shut the whole season long. After all, you’re using your heat, so why let it escape? But the fact is that circulating fresh air in winter is important to maintain indoor air quality.

Let’s look at the right way to get fresh air into your house without your energy bills skyrocketing.

Indoor air pollution

First, let’s start with the risks of keeping windows closed all winter long. Those energy-efficient windows on many newer homes are great at keeping heat in, but at the same time, they may also trap pollutants in your home, lowering your indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution has been ranked by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a leading environmental risk to public health.

Among the pollutants in indoor air are mold, dust, pet dander, pests, radon, bacteria and second-hand smoke. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to respiratory conditions like asthma and even lung cancer. Chemicals used in cleaners can also linger in the air for long periods of time if there isn’t proper ventilation.

The combination of these pollutants circulating in the air can contribute to illness and fatigue. It can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea. It can spark allergic reactions. It can even cause what’s referred to as building-related illness, which includes symptoms like fevers, coughing, muscle aches and tightness in the chest.

Should I open my windows in winter?

One simple way to dissipate many of these risks is to regularly open your windows. If you have screen doors, you may want to open your doors as well. A daily burst of fresh air will significantly lower indoor air pollution, bringing in fresh air that will dilute pollution sources and carry out many pollutants. This is replaced with clean, fresh air.

It’s also a smart idea to ventilate the property once the heating system is turned off. Opening a window before leaving the house or going to bed will help mitigate condensation, which avoids a range of problems down the line. Even just cracking the window overnight can make a difference.

Won’t opening my windows in the winter waste energy?

You may be wondering if you will waste energy doing this. The answer is that you will waste a bit of energy because some heat will leave the home and be replaced by cooler air, but the fact is that the benefits of fresh air coming into the home simply outweigh the risks.

You can reap the benefits of opening the windows without sacrificing much in terms of energy efficiency. Keeping the windows open for 15 or 20 minutes each day should do the trick.

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