Study shows a quarter of us breathe polluted air in our own homes

Nov 10th 2019

A quarter of Britons are breathing polluted air in their own homes. That’s the message coming from Netatmo, a smart-home company that analysed data from one of its products – a Weather Station – in homes around the country. Key findings:

• CO2 levels are in excess of 1,000 ppm impair your ability to concentrate
• 23% of homes in the UK contain polluted air at least once a day
• Almost 80% of Britons don’t air their home at least twice a day
• Airing your home in winter does not lead to a significant loss of heat
• Indoor air is most polluted on Sundays

British homes are close to the European average

In the UK, the average percentage of homes getting polluted each day stands at 23%. The UK is close to the European average with Sweden leading the ranking, at half as many polluted homes as the UK.

These disparities can be explained by different habits in airing, as well as norms and ventilation mechanisms that vary from country to country. In the UK, 80% of detached houses built before 1990 have so-called natural ventilation and only 25% feature mechanical ventilation[4]. In Sweden, only 40% of houses have natural ventilation while 60% of them include mechanical ventilation[5].

How can you improve your home’s air quality?

A first key step is to ‘air’ your home at least twice a day. It’s especially important to do this in winter, when humidity is high, however tempting it is to keep all windows tightly closed.  Believe it or not, airing your home in winter does not lead to a significant loss of heat in the home. This is because only the air cools, and not the walls, flooring, ceiling and furniture.

It’s also important to choose the right time of day. If you live near a busy road, keep the windows closed at peak traffic time. If you suffer from hay fever, don’t open your windows in the morning, when the pollen count is highest.

The Weather Station gadget that the company used to gather this data lets users monitor indoor air quality in real time on their smartphone, track its changes over time and see the positive effects of their actions.

Which? article: How to improve the air quality in your home