Air Quality in the Winter

Properly functioning Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems reduce health problems. They dilute infectious particles in the air, so people in the facility don’t get sick easily. Good ventilation controls odors and reduce pollutants. They also remove dust and dirt, keeping the facility cleaner.

Schools and homes need adjustments for winter conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends four steps to improve wintertime indoor air quality. These measures not only improve the health of occupants, they save energy cost.

  • Ensure proper ventilation.
  • Manage indoor humidity levels as outside temperatures drop. Maintain indoor relative humidity between 30% and 50%.
  • Change HVAC filters on a regular basis in systems that have air handlers. Air filters should have a dust-spot rating between 35% and 80% or a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) between 8 and 13. Look for the MERV values or ratings on the packaging of HVAC filters.
  • Check the air flow from all vents that bring air into the room and those that return air to the system. Make sure that they are not obstructed by furniture or large objects.

For more details, see Health Link Online, Winter 2014 edition at www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org 1/15/2014