Ventilate your home
It is vital to ventilate one's house or apartment to eliminate stale air that has been polluted by co2 from our respiration, unpleasant smells, volatile elements emitted by chemical products contained in paints, furniture, etc.
However, airing out your house can let the cold in, especially in winter. So how do we reconcile air quality with comfort and ecology?
Think of controlled ventilation systems, especially heat recovery ventilators, which allow for stale air to be replaced by fresh air continuously. In the case of heat recovery ventilators, a proportion of the heat that is lost in the stale air is recovered by transferring it to the fresh air entering the system, thereby limiting heat losses.
They are also known as as crossflow or counterflow heat exchanging systems. The concept? Roughly speaking, if it's 68°F (20°C) inside and 32°F (0°C) outside, by airing out your house, you are rejecting air at 68°F (20°C) and will have to heat the incoming air of 32°F (0°C). Thanks to heat recovery ventilators, the air that you let out will only be at 50°F (10°C) and the incoming air at 50°F (10°C) as well. This implies half the amount of heating required.
However, if you don't have a controlled ventilation system, air out your house at least one to three times a day. But don't air out for long stretches - less than 10 minutes is enough - and about 10 minutes prior to that, turn off the heating so that the radiator isn't running for nothing whilst airing; this will also help avoid excessive heat loss from the room, which will already be cooler since the heating would have been turned off beforehand.
Finally, this may seem obvious, but it is preferable to air out your house in the late afternoon during winter so as to minimize heat loss, and in the morning during summer so as to limit the use of air conditioning.
Picture found on http://www.flickr.com/photos/88626537@N00/511888068/
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