How Windows and Doors Can Help Your Indoor Air Quality

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Most homeowners think of their houses as refuges from the world. Their homes give them shelter from storms and extreme temperatures, and they also create a comforting environment where the family can relax, play together, and sleep safely at night. Your home's walls, doors, and windows all give the illusion that it's separate from the outside world.

But the air in your home comes directly from the outdoors, and whatever pollutants or allergens lurk in the air outdoors can seep into your home. This means your house can become less of a refuge and more of a health hazard, especially for younger family members or family members with allergies and asthma.

Your home also circulates its own indoor air pollutants. Together, the indoor and outdoor pollution can make your home a difficult place to breathe.

In our blog below, we'll tell you a little bit more about air quality and how the quality of your doors and windows can have a direct effect on the air you breathe.

Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Important?

When most people think of air pollution, they picture a cloud of smog hovering over a cityscape. They might think of idling cars, burn-offs from oil refineries, or even the fog-dense streets of heavily polluted megacities like Beijing.

But did you know that your indoor air quality can also suffer from air pollution?

As mentioned in the introduction, outdoor air can bring its own pollutants into your home. But because the indoors is a more contained space than the outdoors, your home can create its own pollutants that then recirculate constantly in your house.

Pet hair, dust, cleaning chemicals, aerosols (like hairspray), and fumes from substances like paint can all flow throughout your house, causing allergy flare-ups as people breathe in harmful rather than healthful air. Florida's humidity can also cause mold growth, and the resulting spores can cause wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Of course, in sunny Florida, you and your family members might spend more of your time outdoors than indoors. While most Florida cities have relatively clean air, Tampa and Hillsborough County have some of the worst smog in the state. If you live in the area, you've probably experienced your fair share of smog-heavy days that make breathing a chore. This smog impacts both indoor and outdoor air.

Why Are Good Windows and Doors So Important?

When it comes to indoor air quality, you have a number of tools in your arsenal to combat pollution. In this blog, we'll talk about two of the most important ones: your windows and doors.

Windows and doors help in two main ways. First, solid and sealed windows and doors can keep outdoor air pollution out. Second, well-placed doors and windows can improve air circulation in your home when the outdoor air quality is better than indoor air quality.

When Outdoor Air Quality Is Worse Than Indoor Air Quality

If you have old doors and windows, you might have noticed cracks around the outside edges. Your door might hang slightly crooked on its hinges, creating gaps around its edges, or over time your weather stripping might have worn down or ripped away.

All of these issues let outdoor air flow into your home, which both decreases your home's energy efficiency and contributes to poor indoor air quality, depending on the quality of the outdoor air.

To keep outdoor air pollutants outside your home, make sure you don't have air leaks around your doors and windows. Talk to a window and door professional about replacing old, outdated windows and doors or fixing problems with newer windows and doors, especially cracks in frames and issues with hinges or locks.

When Indoor Air Quality Is Worse Than Outdoor Air Quality

One of the primary culprits behind poor indoor air quality is a lack of airflow inside your house. When your HVAC system blows hot or cool air around your house, it circulates the same air over and over again. This means the same pollutants circulate constantly, which can lower your HVAC system's energy efficiency just as it decreases your indoor air quality.

The best way to solve this problem is to open your windows. You can't do this every day, especially when the outdoor air quality is poor, and you should always turn off your HVAC system before opening the windows so you can save energy.

But opening your windows to let fresh air flow in dilutes the pollutants and allergens circulating throughout your home. It introduces fresh air into your home's HVAC system, and it flushes some of the pollutants out of the indoor air.

To reap this benefit, you should have newer windows that open and close easily. Consider adding new windows or replacing old windows in rooms that get the worst air circulation. You can also add a screen door so you can prop your door open on beautiful days without worrying about security.

If you have a hard time opening or closing any of your windows (or if you have doors and windows that don't open at all), get in touch with a door and window expert.

When you improve your home's air quality, you make it a place where your family can truly relax in a healthy, happy environment. Get in touch with your local doors and windows expert to learn more about how high-quality doors and windows can benefit your home.

Alexandra 3/20/2016

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