It's winter! Why ventilate?

Keep it well ventilated

A well ventilated house means there is fresh air circulating throughout a room or home. It is important to ventilate a house to keep moisture levels down (obvious examples include kitchens and bathrooms) and it help to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home. If too little outdoor air enters the home, pollutant levels can build up.

Most home owners use natural and mechanical ways to ventilate their homes. Natural simply means we open doors and windows to let fresh air move throughout the home. This works well in the fall and spring, but the middle of winter may cause some issues. That is why using mechanical devises are the key this time of year.

Mechanical is the use of exhaust fans usually placed in kitchens and bathrooms to help control moisture and fumes. But, many times these devises go unused by home owners and are not turned on frequently enough to serve their purpose! It is also important to make sure these vents are not blocked and they are truly venting to the outside.

Another important mechanical method is a home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Have the HVAC unit inspected annually; this will help you save money. The machine will work more efficiently and last longer with regular care. Given that we've had some earthquakes … inspect the ductwork and make certain that ALL connections are connected. Otherwise, the "bought air" is being wasted!

Lastly, be sure to replace your air filters regularly and purchase the right filter for your HVAC unit. This simple step can save you in both money and air quality!

Information provided by Dr. Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Housing Specialist – 7 Principles of a Healthy Home Workshop Series.