21 September 2018
Is Countryside Air Really as Fresh as we Think?
By Elta Fans
21 September 2018
Like many, I enjoy several benefits of living in the countryside – stunning views, a slower pace of life and the quiet to name a few. However, depending on the time of year, a better air quality is not always guaranteed.
Most people expect the air quality in the countryside to be better than that of towns and cities. For the most-part this is true, since emissions and pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, are significantly greater in urban areas.
However, pollution can drift out from the cities to cover the countryside meaning the difference in air quality might not be as clear cut. Similarly, in much the same way that pollution becomes trapped between buildings in cities, it can also build up in low lying areas such as valleys.
A familiar sight – and smell – for those living in rural and off-grid areas once the cold weather strikes is often the burning of oil, LPG and soot producing wood fires for heating and hot water. All of these in turn generate pollutants and impact on the air quality. The level of air quality then depends upon a number of factors, meaning it is not possible to identify specific places, be it country or town, as having the best air quality.
While outdoor air quality tends to grab the majority of the headlines, just as important is the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ) in rural areas – especially given the amount of time we spend inside.
Is your house harming you?
Good IAQ is a vital part of our health and can be affected by anything from the use of cleaning products, to the levels of moisture in the air leading to condensation. Dust, mould or fungus spores, and pollen all contribute to poor indoor air quality wherever a property in located.
More dangerously, gasses such as carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke or the burning of fuels in flueless appliances, such as paraffin stoves, portable gas heaters, gas stoves and ovens, can also accumulate indoors if ventilation is poor.
Time to take a breath
In most cases, ventilation is the best way to deal with the issue of poor indoor air quality and there is a wide array of options available depending on the property size, specific air quality issue and location. Whether located in a town or rural area, all properties need to carefully consider what sources of particles they are exposed to and install a ventilation system which is able to cope.