Fall means fresher air in the southeast, and fresher air means that you can finally turn off that AC and open your windows. And that’s a good thing, because homes, offices and buildings that are closed up or rely on ventilation systems are more likely to have a greater build-up of “bad” air.
Yes, there is such a thing as indoor pollution. We tend to think of pollution as being an outdoor hazard, but in fact there is a greater health risk from indoor pollution. It’s true! If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns us.
High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. So after a long, hot, humid summer it’s wise to open those windows, the wider the better!
Toxic Chemicals You Say?
Unfortunately, inside the average home there are a number of sources of indoor air pollutants. If you live with someone who smokes, you’re already aware of the hazards associated with second–hand smoke. But there are many less obvious sources of indoor air pollution.
If you take a quick tour of your home right now, you will probably be able to identify a number of them: household cleaning and maintenance products figure high on the list, as do personal care products, indoor pesticides, and products used for crafts, hobbies and decorating projects.
Some building materials and even home furnishings made from certain types of pressed wood products emit chemicals. Damp or wet carpets get moldy if not dried properly or immediately, and mold spores go airborne. If you know someone suffering from mold allergies, you know how much discomfort that can cause.
And let’s not overlook the use of unvented, malfunctioning or improperly adjusted gas stoves, furnaces or space heaters. They too can contribute to a home’s build–up of toxic chemicals, carbon monoxide among them. But rest assured, your properly adjusted gas stove will not be emitting significant amounts of carbon monoxide. It’s often the age and the level of maintenance that determines how hazardous they are.
In fact, not all pollutants in the average home are toxic or hazardous to your health. Some may pose health problems, while others may mildly affect one’s comfort level. The EPA can give you a complete list of what to look out for.
Problem is, however, that concentrations of chemicals can remain in the air for long periods of time. Which is why good natural ventilation is an absolute must.
Natural Ventilation and Sliding Windows
The easiest (and most pleasant) action you can take to reduce the level of indoor air pollution in your own home is to open a window—all those indoor air pollutants will be carried out of your home through the window. So open your windows regularly and often, because the benefit of an open window is not an old wives’ tale. It’s a scientific fact.
Of course, properly installed, energy–efficient and easy–to–operate windows will make the open window experience all the more enjoyable for you and your family. If you are replacing windows this year, choose sliding windows for their ease of use and install them in rooms where you feel you would need them most.
Sliding replacement windows are perfect for bringing the outdoors inside, giving you all the nature you want. They’ll glide effortlessly on their tracks, so you won’t be struggling to crank, lift or push the window open or shut. And because they use less frame, you get the most glass and therefore the best view!
They work well in kitchens—or really anywhere you want quick access to an open window or to catch a breeze. The beauty of sliding replacement windows is that they combine nicely with traditional double hung styles without interrupting the style of your home.
So go ahead, open a window now that the first chill of fall is nipping the air. A few windows open for short periods of time during the day will serve you and your family well come winter, by de-toxing your home… the natural way!