Many Monroe homeowners are concerned about indoor air quality (IAQ). Poor IAQ can literally make you sick. Fortunately, you can easily improve IAQ by increasing ventilation.
Why Is Improving Ventilation So Important?
Today’s homes are tightly sealed. The object is to keep heated and cooled air from escaping through cracks and leaks. A tight seal can eliminate uncomfortable drafts and reduce hot and cold spots in your home. It can cut heating and cooling costs dramatically. However, IAQ can suffer as a result.
What’s the Downside of a Tightly Sealed Home?
A tight seal prevents proper ventilation. Without ventilation, all manner of toxic particles and airborne contaminants can collect indoors with nowhere to go. These contaminants can cause all sorts of problems from headaches and nausea to lung cancer and heart disease. Poor IAQ is especially hard on those with weak immune systems. That includes children, the elderly and anyone suffering from a chronic infection.
How Can I Ventilate My Living Space?
Your home can be energy-efficient and well-ventilated at the same time. First, determine how much and what kind of ventilation your home needs by contacting a qualified HVAC professional. The next step is to address IAQ problems that aren’t rectified by ventilation alone. There are three basic ventilation strategies to get indoor air moving:
- Natural ventilation. Opening windows is a quick and easy way to clear stale air out of your living space.
- Ventilation at the source. Exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms can clear out excess humidity, cooking odors and contaminants generated by gas stoves.
- Whole-house ventilation. This is the most effective way to keep indoor air fresh. These systems maintain consistent airflow throughout your home around the clock.
What Are Whole-house Ventilation Systems?
Whole-house ventilators can rectify most IAQ problems. Your results will depend on the type of system you install and the initial IAQ of your home. There are four types of whole-house ventilators:
- Exhaust ventilators are affordable, easy to install and work well in cold climates. However, they can pull airborne contaminants indoors, and they partially rely on air leaks. They can increase energy costs and cause backdrafting in combustion appliances.
- Supply ventilators are reasonably priced and easy to install. They remove pollutants from incoming air, prevent backdrafting and work best in warm climates. They can also increase energy costs, and they won’t remove moisture from inbound air.
- Balanced ventilators work well in all climates. However, installation costs may be higher. Like supply ventilators, balanced ventilators can increase energy costs, and they won’t remove moisture from inbound air.
- Energy recovery and heat recovery ventilators cost more to install. They’re available as small models or as central ventilation systems. They reduce energy costs, especially in regions with severe winters or summers. These ventilators are very effective. However, installation requires a high degree of HVAC expertise.
Is Ventilation the Only Way to Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Some homes require more than ventilation to maintain high-quality indoor air. Here are some alternate options that can augment or replace ventilation:
- UV lights zap airborne contaminants with UV radiation.
- Filters trap airborne particles in the filter material. Filters with MERV ratings between 7 and 13 are considered highly effective.
- Duct cleaning and sealing removes pollutants from your ductwork and discourages new contaminants from invading the system.
- Air cleaners are units equipped with high-quality MERV filters.
- Air purifiers zap airborne toxins with negative ions, ozone or heat.
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers maintain optimal indoor humidity levels.
At Byrum Heating & AC, Inc., we offer a full line of Trane indoor air cleaning systems. Call us at (704) 208-4165 to learn more.