At the start of this year, we wrote about why fresh air should be the top focus for every indoor space. And we’re not the only ones who think so. The push for improved fresh air ventilation continues to gain momentum. From greater public awareness to explicit federal agency suggestions, indoor ventilation is seemingly the topic of the moment. Here’s why improving ventilation is the 2022 solution.
Experts Hone In on Ventilation and COVID-19
From news coverage to social media comments to public discussions, the focus on ventilation is obvious. Perhaps you noticed it gradually as comments about indoor ventilation grew in frequency online. Or maybe you’re confused as to why the topic is seemingly dominating public discourse at random. Regardless, ventilation is incredibly relevant today, but why?
A key reason ventilation is popular currently is because of the emphasis indoor air quality experts continue to place on ventilation’s role in minimizing COVID-19 transmission indoors.
How Does Ventilation Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?
COVID-19 primarily spreads through aerosol transmission. Aerosols are similar in size to cigarette smoke particles and can float in the air for a long time. We release hundreds of tiny aerosols when talking, breathing, sneezing, coughing and other typical daily actions. Most importantly, aerosols build up in indoor spaces. This is why ventilation matters.
In poorly ventilated rooms, aerosols continue to build up over time. In indoor spaces with better ventilation, fresh incoming air dilutes indoor air pollution levels (including aerosols!) and increases air circulation and air exchange rates. All of this minimizes aerosol build up and reduces the number of air contaminants in an indoor space. The result? You can reduce COVID-19 exposure indoors by reducing the number of aerosols via increased ventilation.
The focus on fresh indoor air is perhaps at an all-time high. While industry professionals are familiar with the value of increased ventilation, public awareness about the many ventilation benefits are growing.
Why Ventilation in Particular?
Ventilation is the solution to pollution. Albeit, this is not the first time we’ve shared this slogan. (Nor will it be the last!) It’s a helpful and easy way to remember ventilation’s value. Improving air circulation in your home dilutes indoor air pollution (which includes virus particles) and reduces exposure to harmful air pollutants.
How To Increase Ventilation in Your Home
Many homeowners want to know how they can increase ventilation in their home during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the suggestions we’re about to list work to improve home ventilation during the pandemic, they are also long-term solutions. The ideal home ventilation solution is one that provides improved fresh air ventilation during the pandemic and for years after. IAQ control strategies and whole-home system upgrades are not bound to a specific period of time. Here’s how to increase and improve your home’s ventilation for today and the future.
Add a Whole-Home Mechanical Ventilation Solution
Our top suggestion to increase ventilation in your home? Upgrade to a whole-home mechanical ventilation system. This solution works to increase the amount of incoming fresh air while exhausting stale, polluted air from the home. Using a combination of ducts and fans, this add-on system installs directly into your home’s central HVAC system. This means it provides fresh air ventilation throughout the entire space!
While not the focus when it comes to infection control and creating a healthier home, mechanical ventilation systems also help curb utility costs. How? A mechanical ventilation system is both a healthy home and green home solution. Mechanical ventilation systems utilize an energy recovery component that makes it easier to heat and cool incoming fresh air.
Run Localized Ventilation Solutions Consistently
Spot ventilation or localized ventilation refer to smaller mechanical ventilation systems. Rather than a whole-home system, these systems are specific to a room or area of the home. This includes the exhaust fan in your bathroom that you turn on when the mirror is fogged over and the kitchen hood fan you use to reduce cooking smells, heat and smoke. While we associate spot ventilation systems with specific purposes, running these localized systems more often helps increase home ventilation rates.
Opt for Greater Incoming Outdoor Air
Depending on your home HVAC system, there may be setting options to adjust the amount of incoming fresh air versus recirculated indoor air. Something along the lines of opening or increasing the outdoor air intake. An easy way to increase ventilation in your home is to increase the amount of incoming outdoor air. Emphasizing more outdoor air over recirculated air is also the ideal choice for infection control.
Natural ventilation, or opening doors and windows to let fresh air inside, is the easiest way to increase home ventilation. However, it’s not always feasible. The top obstacle? Outdoor weather. Natural ventilation depends on the season, climate and temperature outdoors. Another key hurdle is outdoor air quality. The suggestion should really be: increase natural ventilation when outdoor air quality permits*. Get into the habit of checking the local AQI and making sure you’re not welcoming polluted outdoor air!
Finally, there is a “right” way to increase natural ventilation. The goal should be cross ventilation. That means opening windows on opposite sides of your home. To successfully dilute indoor air pollution, the directional flow of air in your home matters.
How To Ventilate a Room For COVID
Is it hard to believe that increased ventilation can have such an impact? Try out this interactive ventilation tool that helps visualize different scenarios and how various IAQ strategies help reduce virus exposure in your home.
Increasing Ventilation in 2022
The current widespread emphasis on improved ventilation indoors is long overdue. As a means of infection control and as the ideal way to better overall indoor air quality. Increasing ventilation is the 2022 IAQ solution.