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Should You Close Windows When Air Quality is Bad?

Posted in Air Quality, on December 07, 2023

When it’s a gorgeous sunny day, our first reaction is to open windows wide to let fresh air into our homes — even during chilly winter days, a cracked window can freshen things up. But with reports about air pollution rising worldwide, how does outdoor pollution affect results of indoor air quality testing in Toronto? At SafeAir, we’ve helped thousands of families with home air quality testing, determining where and when indoor pollution levels rise because of external factors. Here is some guidance on when —or when not — to open your windows. 

When to Close Windows

Should You Close Windows When Air Quality is Bad?Obviously, you should keep your windows closed during smoke or smog advisories. This past spring and summer of 2023, we saw the GTA seriously affected by smoke from distant wildfires, with sports and other outdoor activities cancelled or discouraged. But what about a regular Tuesday afternoon? SafeAir’s precise recommendations for your home depend on individual factors, but here are some of our most common: 

  • If you live near a busy road or highway, we suggest closing your windows during the morning or evening rush hour. 
  • During rain storms or other high humidity days. 
  • When the wind is strong. 
  • During pollen season. 

When to Keep Windows Open

An open window is the easiest way to increase ventilation in your home, which in turn helps freshen up your home and move along pollutants or moisture. At SafeAir, we love a cracked window all year round, especially in rooms like bathrooms or the kitchen, where steam or scents collect. Opening two windows, one on each opposing wall of your home will help draw air through your home and can dramatically change indoor temperature or humidity. We like to suggest homeowners open windows when: 

  • There is a light breeze that will help circulate air. 
  • You are bathing, cooking, and creating a lot of steam or hot water. 
  • Overnight, when pollution levels are generally lower. 
  • In the summer months during the coolest part of the day.

Tips for Managing Air Quality

Home air quality testing tells us that fresh air is essential for several reasons: it helps move indoor pollutants out, provides ventilation, and helps dry moisture. If you suffer from allergies, respiratory or skin conditions, or any other health concerns, indoor air quality is often the last place people address in their search for wellness. This is because the connection between health issues and indoor air quality problems is less understood than traditional causes of ill health. Spotting a burnt-out lightbulb is easy, but what about mold growth or radon gas? 

This gap is where air quality testing is incredibly valuable. SafeAir has worked in the indoor air quality field for over a decade performing professional air quality testing in the GTA. We’ve helped families, businesses, condo dwellers, and institutions assess, test, and improve indoor air quality, no matter their building size, location, or external factors. Air quality testing in Toronto is a safe, science-based service that is low-impact in methodology but high-impact in results.

Let SafeAir help you take a deep-dive into your indoor air environment today!

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