What You Can Do to Improve the Air Quality of Your Home
Great indoor air quality and ventilation in your home are extremely important aspects of safety and comfort, yet they’re very misunderstood topics. If you’re concerned about your home’s air quality, then many home inspection services can test the air quality and ventilation for you.
Air Distribution vs. Ventilation
Air distribution happens in a forced air heating system, where fans push warm air from the furnace through supply ducts around the rooms, and pulls cool air back through return ducts to be heated again. Essentially, the air is used to move heat from the furnace to all the rooms. The same air circulates through your home, over time. There’s no new air introduced or stale air exhausted.
Ventilation takes stale inside air and replaces it with fresh air from outside. This usually happens when you open a window, turn on a fan, or use a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). Air distribution is used for heating and cooling with air systems, while ventilation improves air quality and replaces stale house air with fresh air.
Is Your House Well-Ventilated?
If you have an older drafty home, this means that a lot of fresh air is leaking in. Newer homes are airtight and many older homes are created airtight to reduce heating costs and improve comfort. Today, modern buildings use air barriers, sealants, and other materials to lessen air leakage. This improves air quality and decreases natural ventilation.
How to Measure Ventilation?
The amounts of a home’s ventilation can be quantified in air change per hour (ACH). This means that the number of times all the air will gradually replace itself is about an hour.
Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs)
Home owners with airtightness may have a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). This removes stale air and brings in fresh air, which transfers the heat from the exhaust air into the incoming air and reduced heat loss during the heating season. Although these are expensive systems that require good maintenance to properly operate, most of them aren’t well-maintained. An HRV is probably required in newer homes, since there’s a wood burning fireplace. The ACH for a home is usually determined with an energy adult.
In addition to ridding you home of strange odors and moisture, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans can improve the ventilation process. An exhaust fan may be necessary for new homes without HRVs. Continuous exhaust fans operating in airtight homes may depressurize the home, which means that the house’s air pressure is lower than the outdoor air pressure. This can be dangerous and cause back-drafting of combustion gases from the home’s appliances that depend on positive home air pressure, such as natural draft furnaces and water heaters.
Opens Your Windows
A simple and easy way to improve your home’s air quality is to open your home’s windows. Although you don’t want to do this in the middle of winter, or in the scorching summertime when your air conditioner is running.
At Nabors Group Inspections, we want to provide you important home inspection and air quality tips so that you’ll have a fresher, healthier, and safer home. If you have any questions on our services, please call 760-708-6409!