The importance of proper ventilation of indoor space has been made apparent by the recent pandemic. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads primarily through droplets and aerosols ejected by a person who is ill through coughing, sneezing, speaking, and breathing. If the air is stagnant, these contaminated droplets and aerosols hang around the room for hours, increasing infection risk.
However, public health experts agree that the spread of the virus is less likely because the air immediately disperses droplets and aerosols, plus direct exposure to sunlight kills the virus.
It is never too late to make changes that will enable greater ventilation.
The Bigger, the Better
Opening the windows and the doors is a simple act that will dramatically increase the level of fresh air inside your home. Experts recommend that households open their windows and/or doors for at least a few minutes every day, even in winter. This allows indoor pollutants and allergens to come out of the house.
During the colder months, people tend to shut themselves in instead of braving the snow and ice outdoors. Many will experience symptoms, including sneezing and coughing, from breathing indoor air rich in dust mites, pet dander, fumes from cleaning products, smoke particles, etc.
To maximize ventilation, especially when the weather is nice outdoors, install tall windows and aluminum glass sliding doors. Windows that are about 3.6 feet high or above and massive sliding doors encourage air to move around a space. These features will also be ideal in the summer because they will reduce the heat load on your ceilings and keep the room cooler.
However, make sure to first check the outdoor air quality before you go around opening your entire home for ventilation. In major cities, air pollution is still a problem. Exposure to vehicular smoke and gases will only cause short- and long-term illnesses.
The direction in which your windows and doors face is important, too. Breeze varies on the location, time of day, and climate of an area.
For example, those living in coastal towns will benefit from having large windows and doors facing the sea. The breeze coming from that direction is cooler and cleaner.
Those who own homes near mountains and hills should remember that breeze travel downslope, having windows and doors facing the landforms.
Start Looking Up and Out
Installing ceiling fans will move the air around your home, especially when you cannot keep the windows and the doors open. Although the health benefits of using a ceiling fan are still unknown, theoretically, it could prevent droplets and aerosols from being inhaled by individuals in a room.
Remember to check the settings of the ceiling fan. The blades should be tilted upwards and should rotate clockwise so that the air moves up rather than down and around.
Households can use portable fans, but do not point it toward people. The Minnesota Department of Health in the United States recommends placing portable fans in windows to pull air out of a room, not pushing air into the building.
The Walls that Breathe
If you are in the process of building a home, you should go for porous materials. Brick is a porous building material, and so is concrete. These common building materials, when used as a wall, enable air to move around a structure. Wood, too, will facilitate air to flow.
Green Is In
Indoor plants would not save you from viruses and bacteria, but it will clear the air you breathe of any harmful gases and pollutants. Pothos, one of the most popular indoor plants because it is easy to take care of, removes benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene from the air. The zz plant is also pretty resilient and, similar to pothos, can remove xylene, benzene, and toluene from the air.
In the Great Outdoors
Having well-kept outdoor spaces will encourage you to open the door and step out every once in a while. Spending time outdoors is still the best strategy to improve the air that you breathe. Not only are you safe from viruses and bacteria that may cause an illness, but you are also exposed to fresh air and natural daylight.
Every home needs to have proper ventilation, not just because of COVID-19. There are things inside houses that can harm inhabitants, and they are not always visible. Sometimes, regular activities release particles and gases in the air that may irritate the respiratory system. The only way to prevent similar incidents is to ventilate.