Research commissioned by Daikin Australia has found that 52 percent of Australians have experienced health concerns due to poor air quality at home. The list of ailments include respiratory problems, asthma, allergy symptoms, poor sleep and headaches. And the main culprits: humidity and poor ventilation.
‘Understanding indoor air quality in Australian homes’ surveyed over 2,000 respondents in May 2022. Daikin commissioned this research to better understand how Australians are managing their indoor air quality. This comes after the lessons of the Black Summer Bushfires, COVID-19 and now the effects of La Niña.
Air quality in the home is on the mind of the nation
According to the findings, 84 percent of Australians hold some level of concern about indoor air quality. COVID-19 contributed to 40 percent of Australian adults changing the way they think about and manage air quality in their homes.
Despite increased understanding, the study found Australians generally don’t know how to put this into action.
“While many Australians know that good indoor air quality is important, our research has found that some of the simplest choices and behaviours to improve indoor air at home go overlooked,” general manager Dan Tosh says in Daikin Australia’s statement.
Choosing a home heating solution that also improves air quality was rated as the least important feature among respondents. Instead, 59 percent were just keeping a window open. This practice is likely making the problem worse says Professor Sheryl van Nunen from National Asthma Council Australia.
“Opening just one window can introduce more allergens, such as mould spores, pollution, pollen and smoke to the air you breathe,” says van Nunen.
“Good ventilation in the home means cross ventilation. The air must be able to enter and leave your house, for example, through the front and back doors, to have any meaningful impact.”
Cost of heating more important to Australians
Choosing a cost-efficient home heating system was named as the number one priority for respondents. Forty-eight per cent of the Australians surveyed stated that they were concerned about managing the cost of heating their home this winter.
As we head into the cooler months, the risk of poor quality air in homes increases, according to Daikin. Mould growth, dust mites, poor air circulation, pets spending more time indoors and even the type of heating used in the home all contribute to higher levels of pollution and allergens indoors.
For many Australians, managing the season becomes a balancing act: keep the family warm and healthy, without breaking the bank.
What do the health experts say?
“The key to better air quality in the home for winter is to manage humidity and ensure any ventilation is helping to improve the quality of the air you breathe, not hindering it,” van Nunen says.
Humidity encourages mould growth and allows pests like dust mites to thrive. It’s important to choose heating systems that regulate the temperature and reduce the amount of moisture in the air to make your home healthier this winter.”