Category: Air Quality
With the holiday season upon us, family and friends will be gathering to celebrate in homes across the country. Just the mention of the holidays might evoke smells of cookies, pine trees, the roast cooking and so many others. These are all wonderful things that make our homes welcoming to our guests. The question however is what are we doing to ensure the holiday indoor air quality of our homes? Here are 5 common things we do around this time of year that affect the holiday indoor air quality of our homes and what we can do to improve them.
Nothing says the holidays more than the smells coming form the kitchen. Whether it is Christmas cookies baking, a big pot roast, or other holiday favorites. You might be getting hungry just reading about it. The challenge to IAQ is when these items are cooking they are also releasing contaminates into the air in the form of smoke, moisture, carcinogens and more. Yes, we know – way to ruin the holidays by talking about this. Before we panic and serve carrot sticks instead of cookies, there is a solution – ventilation. Making sure the kitchen range hood is operating and venting to the outdoors while cooking will alleviate most of these contaminates. If your range hood does not currently vent to the outdoors, consider replacing it with one that does. If venting to the outdoors is not an option consider utilizing an air purifier.
Candles have become a holiday tradition across the country. The smell of pumpkin spice, apple spice, holiday spice and the other endless scents waffling through the air turn our homes into a delight for the senses. We even use candles for holiday traditions and ceremonies. The issue is that when we light a candle we basically have an open fire inside our home and no place for the smoke to go so we end up breathing it in. Air King has a whole blog post dedicated to candles and IAQ that you can read here. The solution is to have a ventilation strategy when using candles. That could be utilizing the exhaust fan in the bathroom, having general ventilation in other areas of the home and so forth.
Tis the season for homes full of friends and family. It warms the heart just thinking about it. However, we already have the food cooking in the kitchen causing contaminates. We have lit candles around the home to fill it with the smells of the holidays but creating smoke and now we have a home full of people who are breathing which fills the room with CO2 as well as any other contaminates they are breathing out (we really do know how to ruin the fun of the holidays). As with cooking and candles, the solution is ventilation and fresh air. As the home fills up and the room temperature rises, many of us will open a window or door to cool off. This is a fantastic idea as it allows fresh air in and pushes the stale, contaminated air out. The issue is we typically need a little more. Having a centralized exhaust fan operating or the range hood operating even if nothing is cooking can dramatically increase the indoor air quality. An HVAC expert can help you identify how you can more effectively ventilate your home and ensure you have the right balance of fresh air coming in while ventilating out the bad.
You can’t have the holidays without decorations. For a lot of people that means breaking out the craft kits gluing, painting and so forth. What a lot of us miss is that if you look at most of the craft kits, paint and glue – it says right on the bottles “use in a well ventilated area”. Unfortunately in most homes, the living room, dinning room or craft room is not a well-ventilated area. Something simple like doing the craft on the kitchen table or counter with the range hood running can have a positive impact. Another thing to remember is that many paints continue to produce air contaminates as they dry so once the project is done, moving them outside the home to a garage or storage space is very helpful.
A holiday tradition that no one likes is the cleaning. You have a full guest list coming but the house is a mess (from all the cooking) so it needs to be cleaned. If you have read this far, you know something bad is coming. Here it is. Using cleaners can have a real negative effect on IAQ. Cleaners can be really nasty – bleach, ammonium, and so forth produce a ton of contaminates that fill the air we breathe. They are very effective in killing the bacteria and germs but it is at the expense of the IAQ of the home. That is why it is crucial that exhaust fans are utilized when the cleaning is happening. When the bathroom and powder room is being cleaned, make absolutely sure the exhaust fan is turned on and stays on until the smell of the cleaners is gone. When cleaning the kitchen, turn the range hood on. If you are able to open windows, do so.
With a little thought and some simple steps including a plan for ventilation and fresh air, you can drastically improve the holiday indoor air quality of your home, truly making it an inviting place to gather.
For more information about Air King’s exhaust fans, fresh air solutions, and range hoods utilize the links at the top of this page. Also make sure to visit Lasko’s page for a full line of air purifiers.