How to Protect Indoor Air Quality in The Wake of Summer Heat
Summer has arrived once again, and we're here for it!
But with summer heat comes a myriad of unpleasant air quality issues. Some we already saw before summer even hit!
Earlier this month, much of Ontario smelled like a giant bonfire. This was, of course, due to wildfires burning across the county. Smoke from out West, Quebec and Northern Ontario became wind-borne - lowering air quality throughout Ontario.
In fact, at one point during this event, Toronto’s air quality ranked among the world’s worst! By that same evening, the air quality index of Ottawa rose to above level 10 (very high risk)!
Smoke exposure causes eye irritation, coughing and respiratory difficulties. No wonder much of the province was highly encouraged to limit their exposure as much as possible.
After the spring we’ve had, with early heat waves and poor air quality, who knows what could happen next!
Thankfully, the smoke continues to dissipate today. But the risk of coming heat waves looms.
Many homeowners have come to us with the same question, “how do I protect my indoor air quality this summer?”
At the end of this article, we explore 4 products to keep your home air quality clean, safe and comfortable.
But first, let’s look at some common causes of poor indoor air quality during the summer months.
Common Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality In Summer
It’s commonly assumed that air quality is worse in the summer than in the winter. But while we can confirm that air quality worsens in the summer, we cannot say that it is worse in one season vs. another.
All seasons in Canada have their own air quality risks. The important thing is to understand what those risks are so that you can mitigate the issue.
Besides the risk of wildfires, there are three other factors to consider.
Let’s explore them below:
Heat waves are something many Ontario residents are familiar with.
One second you’re enjoying a cool breeze at 23 degrees Celcius. The next, you’re thrown into 30 degrees weather with little to no wind!
These heat waves are typically short-lived. But wow, do they ever hit hard!
If you live in Sudbury, Ontario, you’re feeling the impact of a heat wave right now!
Temperatures have risen to 30 degrees or higher, and they’re not lowering until at least Monday.
Sudbury’s air quality index has already hit level 4 (moderate risk) in the last couple of days.
How does high heat affect air quality?
Extreme heat and stagnant air increase ozone and particulate pollution. It also can dry out the soil, increasing the risk of wildfires (hence our current dilemma in much of Canada).
Warmer temperatures can also cause early blooming and prolonged pollen production.
And lastly, warm temperatures paired with high moisture create the perfect environment for mould to thrive. This is humidity!
High humidity refers to anything over 50%.
Currently, in Sudbury, Ontario, humidity is around 30-40%, which is fine. But have you noticed how things become quite muggy before a summer thunderstorm?
That's a sign of high humidity!
Have you ever left your windows open and noticed your floors getting sticky? This is a direct result of the heavy moisture in the air.
If you read our last blog, you know all about the effects of high humidity. But if you missed it, here’s a quick recap!
Humidity is crucial for your internal air conditioning system - thermoregulation. This is the process your body goes through to maintain a healthy core body temperature.
If your body becomes too hot, thermoregulation immediately begins. Vasodilation or sweating are two tools your body uses to cool down.
Vasodilation occurs when your blood vessels widen. This widening increases blood flow to cooler areas of your skin. This moves the heat away from your internal core so that it does not overheat.
As that heat reaches your skin, sweat glands release sweat. As sweat releases, it evaporates from your skin - lowering your body temperature.
But there’s a catch.
This process of thermoregulation doesn’t work well if your environment is very humid. Your sweat cannot evaporate when the air is full of moisture. This makes your body vulnerable!
Health Effects of High Humidity:
- Muscle Cramping,
- Dehydration, etc.
Humidity is also a breeding ground for dust mites, bacterial growth and allergens!
Common allergens in your home during summer include dust mites, pet dander and pollen.
These three allergens thrive in the summer months due to high heat and moisture. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, they are likely to grow at an exponential rate!
In the past week, Sudbury’s allergy outlook stated a very high pollen count.
While you may not be sensitive to these pollens, others in your family might be. This risk is why it’s so important to fend off these harmful air pollutants.
4 Products To Protect Your Home Air Quality
There are many ways to improve and protect your indoor air quality. Our indoor air quality experts have listed their top suggestions below:
Install Air Conditioning
Did you know that A/C is the number one way to protect against heat-related illness and death (CDC)?
Our last article discussed how air conditioning can help keep you safe during a heat wave. Wow, did we cover a lot of material there!
Interested in learning more about the benefits of air conditioning this summer? We encourage you to check out that article!
If you’re in the market for the cliff notes of the story, here are the top benefits of A/C we discussed:
- Helps maintain a healthy core body temperature.
- Reduces and controls humidity.
- Reduces the risk of dehydration and other heat-related health issues.
- Improves sleep.
- Improves indoor air quality.
At Campeau Heating, we offer a variety of air conditioning systems! Choose from our ductless, central, high velocity and geothermal lines.
Increase Air Ventilation
Adequate ventilation is vital for clean, healthy air. It is the process of exchanging air into and out of your home.
Whole home ventilators (ERVs or HRVs) are a great way to improve the air quality throughout your home.
Ventilation systems improve your indoor air quality by,
a) Removing pollutants, and
b) Bringing in fresh, filtered air from outside.
A Heat or Energy Recovery Ventilator: Which is More Effective?
Install an Air Purification/Filtration System
Filtering and purifying your indoor air with the right equipment is essential.
At Campeau Heating, we supply a variety of air-cleaning products, from UV to HEPA! Both of these systems have the power to remove and/or destroy harmful particles from your indoor air.
A UV purification system kills viruses, bacteria, protozoa, etc.
It can even kill mould spores!
A HEPA filter can remove dust, mould, bacteria and pollen. If there’s an airborne particle about 0.3 microns big floating around, you can count on your HEPA filter to catch it!
Improve Humidity Control
As mentioned above, humidity is one of the leading causes of poor air quality during the summer. And it isn’t just harmful to you! It can also damage furniture, flooring and other structural elements in your house.
This is why humidity control is so vital.
Thankfully, there’s a reliable system that makes humidity control fast and simple!
A whole-home dehumidifier helps maintain a healthy humidity level in your home 24/7.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Campeau Heating
At Campeau Heating, we care about your indoor air quality. Our team keeps your home as safe and comfortable as possible!
Not sure where to begin with your air quality improvement this summer?
Contact our experts at (705) 560-2441! We can help you choose the right products for your home, lifestyle and budget.