The purpose of this blog is to share expert advice on all things real estate related. We write articles about hard money loans, working with contractors, and choosing kitchen countertops. We share this information in hopes that it might be helpful to those who have yet to go through the process of acquiring a private loan or remodeling the kitchen themselves. Today it is going to be different. Today I want to talk about a subject that I claim no particular expertise in. To say it better, I know as much about it as anyone else reading this blog. I am talking about breathing.
Let’s start with the facts. The average person can hold their breath for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. With practice, some individuals can extend their breath-holding time to several minutes or even longer. The most experienced breathers, such as divers, can potentially hold their breath for 10 minutes and occasionally exceed it.
You might think the timing might differ for holding your breath voluntarily instead of trying to survive an involuntary oxygen deprivation. Not true. Though the length of time a person can survive without oxygen varies depending on age, overall health, physical fitness, and the circumstances surrounding oxygen deprivation, some brain damage may occur between 4 to 6 minutes. According to the University of Michigan, irreversible brain damage typically occurs at 10 minutes without oxygen. Whether you are holding your breath voluntarily or not, our maximum is approximately ten quick minutes. My expert advice is that no matter what you do, please breathe.
Now that we’ve established the importance of breathing let’s talk about breathing the right type of air. Common sense and scientific literature suggest that the best air to breathe is clean, fresh, and well-ventilated. Clean air is free from pollutants, allergens, and harmful substances that can negatively impact health. It has a proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide and is free from odors and stale conditions.
You and I might have little direct control over pollutants, allergens, and harmful substances. What we do have control over is well-ventilated air that is free of odors and stale conditions. It brings me closer to our subject of interest and my expertise: real estate.
It’s not a secret that poor indoor quality causes many health issues. These issues include respiratory problems and infections, headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, poor cognitive function, and lung cancer (in case of high radon levels). What is less known is that the stale air can affect not only your health but also your bottom line as a real estate investor. It can do it in at least four ways.
Mold and Mildew Growth: Lack of ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, creating an ideal mold and mildew growth environment. If you own or manage a rental property in Maryland, a mold problem could present you with costly cleanup and repair bills as well as lawsuits from tenants claiming that the mold made them ill.
Condensation and Dampness: Inadequate ventilation can result in condensation on windows and walls, leading to dampness and potential damage to the property’s structure and finishes.
Delayed Construction Process: If you are a rehabber renovating a property, ensuring proper ventilation helps accelerate the drying process of construction materials like paint, plaster, and cement. Without adequate airing, these materials may take longer to dry, leading to delays in the construction project.
Unpleasant Odors: The odors and fumes from construction, cooking, and pets can make the indoor environment unpleasant and uncomfortable for potential buyers and renters, negatively affecting your price and extending the marketing time of your property. (Here is more information on how smell influences rental property decisions.)
I feel so passionate about this subject because much of the stale indoor air can be addressed for free with a century-old method of ventilating the property. Ventilating is a fancy term for just opening your windows and letting fresh air circulate in the property. Yes, there are fancier and more expensive ways to ventilate, and we may address them in future blogs. However, for now, let’s concentrate on the basics.
Europeans are much better ventilators than us, and most rental contracts in Germany include a clause specifying how often a tenant must ventilate a property. Here is a brief summary of best practices for airing the property across the Big Pond.
- The colder the room, the more frequently it should be aired. This is because warmer air can bind more humidity; if the temperature is lower, the more humidity condensates.
- Proper ventilation requires opening the windows completely for a short period of time. The greater the difference in temperature between inside and outside, the shorter this period needs to completely replace the air in the room. In winter, just five minutes might be enough to prevent the interior walls and furniture from cooling down too much.
- According to the German Tenants’ Association, the rooms of an apartment should be aired more than once a day. Yes, you’ve read it correctly: more than once a day. It comes as a shocker to many of us in the US who prefer to spend our lives inside with a comforting humming of air conditioning.