While the question from the title may sound somewhat trivial, since airing out a room seems to have a pretty straightforward answer: (just open the window), the reality is actually quite different.
Knowing how long you need to keep a window open can depend on the air quality outside. If you leave the window open for too long on a cold winter day, the room temperature will gradually reduce, and your heating bills will increase. In summer, on the other hand, the room can get uncomfortably warm if you keep the windows open for too long, which will ultimately lead to increased utility bills due to excessive use of air-conditioning.
Also, what if we told you that opening a window is not the only way for you to ventilate your indoor space? There are many more ways how to improve the indoor airflow, get rid of the old air, and make your indoor space feel fresher.
In this article, we are going to talk about proper ways to ventilate your indoor area and share with you some tips on how to profit from some alternative methods for airing out your room.
Why Is Airing Out a Room Important?
Airing our rooms out is something we often do without thinking. When we were children, our parents would walk into our rooms, wake us up, and open the windows, probably. As we grew older, opening a window probably became something we do automatically on different occasions, depending on household preferences.
However, do you ever stop to think why is this good to do? Why do we need to ventilate our rooms?
Well, first of all, the level of clean air inside our house severely affects our health, but also the indoor conditions. When there is no fresh air coming into the room, such rooms literally create their own micro-climate.
In the case of high indoor humidity levels and lack of access to fresh air can lead to increased microbial growth. This process works in loops as our indoor activities and movements tend to increase humidity levels inside, making it close to impossible to maintain unventilated indoor space microbes-free.
Also, inner air warmth can be a huge problem when it comes to humidity. When it’s warm inside, either due to high outdoor temperature in summer, or heating in winter, the more water the air will absorb. When the room with water absorbed in the air cools down, the saturation limit goes down and humidity becomes water vapor. Water vapor is well known for its ability to condense in places with the lowest temperature, so you may encounter some ugly wall-stains. But besides looking ugly, this is also very harmful to respiratory health.
Some of the most prominent effects of not venting an indoor space properly are:
Health-related issues such as:
- Compromised immunity;
- Allergies enhancement;
- Respiratory illnesses;
- Physical discomfort;
- Worsening of any existing physical symptoms.
- Poor focus;
- Low mood.
- Risk of mold;
- Bad smell in the air;
- Furniture damage.
Preventing these consequences at your home is possible. Properly ventilated areas will make you feel more comfortable, fresh, and healthy. However, this means that you need to ventilate the rooms every single day, summers and winters included. If you don’t know how to do this, we’ll teach you in the following paragraphs.
How to Air Out a Room During Summer?
Different rules of ventilation apply when it’s hot outside and when it’s cold. During summer, many of us have the tendency to simply leave all of the windows open with the idea that this will provide us with more fresh air, however, it is not a very good idea once the heat hits its peak, as that’s when you actually achieve the opposite – an increase of temperature.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your indoor space fresh during summer.
Blinds and/or Curtains
While curtains may be an aesthetically more pleasing solution, blinds are a nonetheless good option for when it comes to protecting your indoor space from the sun and heat during the hot summer days.
Close the Windows During the Day
If you want to let some fresh air in during hot summer days, it’s best to do it early in the morning and/or right before the evening comes, when the Sun is going down. You can also let fresh air in during the night, but in case you live near the water, be careful not to let mosquitoes in. During the day it’s best to keep your windows closed and maintain the air at the optimal temperature. This is especially efficient if combined with blinds and/or curtains.
Create Air Flow/Draft
The fastest way to ventilate the rooms in your home is to create a draft. This is best done by opening the windows on opposite sides of the house. For this to work, you also need to leave the doors open so that the air flows through the entire space. If there is even light wind outside, it may cause the doors to slam, so you may want to jam the doors with some objects. However, in the case of strong wind, you may want to give this up, as you may experience objects falling down.
Bring in More Plants
Plants and greenery, in general, are some of the nicest ways to improve the air quality of your indoor space. Besides the fact that they look wonderful, they are also very practical and useful, as they provide oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and create shade (in the case of larger plants). Therefore, a good option may be to place pots with plants around your home, especially in rooms where you spend most of your time during the day.
Use a Fan or Switch on Your AC
In case of moderate temperatures, you can use a fan. When it’s very hot, we usually experience this feeling that the air is not moving, and that can feel suffocating. However, something as simple as a rotating fan can significantly improve the condition of the air inside your room.
An even more effective way to use the fan is when the windows are open, as you will be able to create more breeze and your room will ventilate more quickly.
On the other hand, if you own an air conditioner, turning it on can make your room feel fresher in a matter of minutes. Not only will the air feel fresher, but you will cool down too.
How to Air Our a Room During Winter?
During wintertime, different rules for ventilation apply, especially if it’s below zero degrees outside.
In winter, we need to be careful with ventilation, as we need to find a good balance between getting more fresh air inside and losing heat inside the room since cooling down the room too much can consequently enlarge your utility bills.
Here’s how you can vent your indoor space during cold winter days.
Windows Wide Open
In wintertime, the best way to achieve the perfect balance between getting fresh air in, and maintaining your indoor space optimally warm is to apply a ‘greedy’ or ‘fast’ strategy. This means, opening your window widely but briefly. This intensive strategy may feel unpleasant while it lasts as if you’re inside the room that is being ventilated, you’ll probably be exposed to unpleasant levels of cold, however, five minutes are more than enough to achieve air exchange and then you can close everything up.
DON’T Create a Draft
While drafts in summer usually give you a pleasurable feeling of airflow, in winter, they can cool down your space unnecessarily. When opening the windows in winter, make sure to ventilate one room after another. In winter, the winds are usually stronger, so you don’t actually want any draft passing through your house.
Lower the Heating Before Airing
Both gas and electric radiators/heating systems are usually equipped with thermostats or thermoelectric actuators, which help reduce heating costs, as they automatically switch off once the desired room temperature has been reached, but also switch on once the space begins to cool down. If you open a window while the heating system is set up to a certain higher temperature, the moment the indoor temperature falls below that level, the heaters will start to work at their maximum power, but the heat will not stay in your home, as it will vanish through the window right away. This is an unnecessary expense, as you can simply lower or switch off the heating while you are ventilating, and then put it back up once you close the window.
Close the Doors Between Rooms
If you are ventilating one room, it is recommended to close the doors that connect this room to other spaces in your home, as the difference in temperature between different rooms can create negative pressure, which is a common cause of condensation and rusting. By simply closing the door, you can prevent this from happening.
Heat and Air Rooms that You Don’t Use as Well
Rooms that are being unused in a home should also be ventilated. The reason is exactly the one we described in the previous tip: if there is negative pressure and temperature difference between indoor spaces may cause condensation and mold formation. However, it’s necessary to also think about the economical aspect here, as heating up rooms that are not being used is just a waste of money. That’s why if you don’t already have it, you could profit from installing an electric actuator on your radiator, and setting it up to lower temperatures, just enough not to be too cold.
Use Helpful Appliances
Of course, there is always a solution in technology. Using some of the appliances designed to keep your indoor air fresh might cost a few bucks more, but it may also help you keep your air fresh, especially if you live in a polluted area where ventilating your indoor space via a window is not really as helpful as it may seem.
For example, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your indoor space, and this will automatically make the air feel fresher. If a room is too humid, it creates an environment for all kinds of microbes to inhabit it, so if you want to avoid that, but you also don’t want to open the window too much, a dehumidifier should be good enough to meet your needs. A dehumidifier is also a simple and quick solution in case you are suffering from allergies or tend to get a feeling of sickness when not being exposed to enough fresh air, which can happen if your indoor space is preserving some moisture.
Besides the dehumidifier, you can also try to work with an air purifier to remove harmful particulate matter from your air.
Run a Ventilation Fan
Finally, if your home has a ventilation fan in the room that you want to air out, this is another good solution in case you don’t want to open the windows so often. However, living spaces rarely have such a thing built-in, it’s much more common in kitchens and bathrooms. These fans draw the humid, stale air outside in a similar way that the dehumidifier does actually, so you can use those interchangeably.
If you keep these fans running in the kitchen or the bathroom, you can count on getting the unpleasant and humid air out. It’s particularly useful if you keep them on while you are cooking or showering. If you only switch it on after using the room, the humidity or smells may spread around the house, and it will take longer to ventilate, but if you switch it on during the activity, the area will freshen up real fast.
Maintaining your rooms properly ventilated is essential for maintaining good health and keeping your indoor space mold, dust, and mildew-free. Also, often airing out the indoors will keep your indoor space smelling fresh and pleasant.
In case your home has rooms without windows, it can be tricky to ventilate them properly, and you might need to apply some of the techniques such as using a dehumidifier, air purifier, or creating a draft.