Weather and climate play an important role in air quality, which in turn impacts our health. As if the frosty winter weather weren’t bad enough, air quality also declines along with the temperature, especially indoors. Our desire to hunker down during cold winter months means our homes need air purifiers and potentially even radon services in Des Moines, IA.
Pollution seems worse in the winter because of the cold. Stagnant air and cold temperatures mean pollutants stay nearer to the ground where they were emitted. During warmer temperatures, the warm ground-level air rises easily and carries the pollutants into the atmosphere.
During a temperature inversion, a layer of cold air is trapped under a layer of warm air. The warm air acts as a barrier so pollutants like carbon monoxide remain near the ground and reach unhealthy levels. Inversion layers often form on clear and calm nights because the ground cools rapidly.
One way that nature remedies these temperature inversions is with storms. Wind, rain and snowstorms help blow, rinse or otherwise clear these pollutants from the area.
Manmade pollution in winter
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Sounds like a magical holiday, but the increased usage of fireplaces and wood stoves mean higher levels of particulate matter in the air. Particulate matter includes dirt, dust, soot and salt. This causes breathing problems for people both inside and outside the house making the fire.
During the winter it’s a lot harder for some commuters to maintain their green lifestyle, meaning they swap out walking or biking to work in favor of driving their cars. Additionally, the need to warm up the car in the morning and the reluctance to get out of the car in freezing temperatures means more cars are idling for longer and emitting more carbon monoxide. As with fires, cars also release particulate matter.
Indoor air quality in winter
Outdoor pollutants aren’t the only concern during winter. Indoor air quality is important to monitor in winter because more people are spending time inside. Good ventilation is key to maintaining good indoor air quality; without it, carbon dioxide levels can rise dangerously high, causing headaches and fatigue.
Low humidity is another winter air quality issue that is harmful to you and your family. Because cold air can’t hold much water vapor, the air becomes much drier. Low indoor humidity can cause issues like dry skin and nosebleeds. It can also damage wooden furniture and hardwood floors.
You can combat poor indoor air quality in winter by keeping your ventilation systems and fireplaces well cleaned and maintained. If you’re able, open windows occasionally for short periods to allow fresh air inside. If you’re feeling up to it, grab your warmest coat and enjoy a quick stroll in the crisp air, as outdoor air quality is often better than indoor air quality in winter.
Investing in quality ventilation systems and air cleaners will help your home stay safe and comfortable throughout the cold winter months.
At Sir Build-a-Lot, we understand how important it is to improve indoor air quality in your home, especially during winter. Our air purifiers and radon services in Des Moines, IA will protect you and your family all winter long. For a consultation on our air ventilation systems, contact us today.