In Alaska, we have two seasons – warm and cold. During the warm season, the windows in our house are continually open. But in the cold – it is a huge struggle. But even though it is cold, it’s really important to open windows to create air flow. I cannot stress enough the importance of fresh air in the house or the benefits of opening house windows.
Changes of Season
During the warmer months of Alaska, our windows are opened all the time. Literally. We don’t have air conditioning, so the windows act as the natural air conditioner (yes, it can get surprisingly warm in Alaska!). It allows the house to have fresh air flow to replenish the stale air with clean air. I do not even think about the health benefits of leaving the windows open during the warm months, because it happens continually all on its own.
But then the cold months come, it gets cold in Alaska. Really cold. And my natural inclination is to button everything down as tight as possible to keep the cold out, heat in, and energy efficiency up. But when I stop and think about it, it’s pretty much the worst thing that I could do. We need that fresh air. And as a culture, we simply do not stress the importance of fresh air in the house enough.
Air Quality is a Concern
For centuries, houses were not built as air tight as the ones in which we now live. While people worked to keep the cold out, they simply did not build houses as air tight. Now we have air tight houses which keeps the cold out and heat in, but it also keeps fresh air out. This causes a significant decrease in air quality. According to the EPA, air quality is a genuine concern within our culture. The EPA encourages people to open their windows and state that one “approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors.”Keeping windows closed all the time increases the risk of mold, as well as allows toxins to build up within a home which can exasperate asthma and allergies. These toxins can come from normal household cleaners, burning candles, and just living within your home and breathing out germs. When your house is locked up for the winter, it allows these toxins to sit and infiltrate our bodies.
Benefits of Opening House Windows
Research indicates that fresh air helps people sleep better. By opening your windows, you will also have less desire to rely on chemical air freshenersthat can wreak havoc on your systems. Your air will naturally be more fresh. (Of course, if you still want an added boost, you can always use your diffusers since they are healthy for you!)
Yes, it can be cold to open the windows during the dead of winter. But it is 100% worth it. Not only does opening the windows allow for stale air to be replaced for fresh air, it helps control toxins and germs. You will also find the fresh air to be invigorating and refreshing. And you do not need to leave the windows open for long periods of time. Even 10-20 minutes of air flow throughout your house on a daily basis will make a significant difference.
It’s not the most popular thing in the world to let the cold into your house during the winter. But it is researched that it is a very good thing for your health. Combine that fresh air with some good house plants and essential oil diffusers, and you may just find that the air quality in your house has never been better.