IAQ 101 (AKA Indoor Air Quality Basics)
The heat is blowing, the furnace is purring like a kitten, the family is warm wherever they are lounging in the house. Everything seems to be good, as far as the heating system is concerned… or is it?
It seems like whenever that furnace blower comes on, Jim starts sneezing. All winter long you’re dusting every week. Sometimes its hard to sleep at night with the dry throats and all the coughing and refilling glasses of water.
Here’s the kicker: you are not alone.
For decades homeowners have been settling for this relationship with their house, but it doesn’t have to be this way.Thankfully, after decades of research and testing, we now understand the important link between your home’s contents, heating system, construction materials and you. This is an exciting industry to be in when we can honestly say there are new affordable answers to problems that have been plaguing our every day health for as long as we can remember. Indoor air quality is totally within our control.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Well, its the the contents of the air inside your home.
- Its the humidity (moisture content) of that air.
- Its the visible and invisible particles floating on the drafts.
- Its the specks settling on your DVR and china hutch.
- Its all the little living critters that inhabit your home
- Its one of the primary causes and exacerbating factors of sinus and respiratory issues.
Some Myths about dust and air contaminants:
- “We bring it inside with us.” – Not usually the case. Most houses generate the majority of their air contaminants by their very construction. Depending on design and the state of your duct system, different parts of a house exist in state of negative or positive pressure. These pressures can drive air out and suck air in to the living space. Whatever this air passes through comes with it: fiberglass insulation, dirt, pest droppings, molds and more.
- “My house is leaky, mostly the doors and windows.” – Doors and windows make up about 20% of the air leakage in the average home according to energy experts with the Department of Energy. The majority of the air the house “breathes” is from the crawlspace and attic through mechanical, plumbing and electrical penetrations often hidden from direct view. Furthermore, those leaky doors and windows are generally sources of GOOD fresh air, directly from outside.
- “All houses have to be dusted a couple times a month.”- Well, this is a touchy subject because how often someone dusts is related to how much they are bothered by the stuff. If you find you are dusting more often than you would like, you likely have opportunities to improve this situation. A house that’s been sealed up tight and ventilated right should be able to go a month or more without significant dust build up.
Whats the answer?
Our motto at Barron Heating is “Test, don’t guess”, so the first step is to have a Home and Duct Performance Assessment completed on your home. This test will identify where the air, heat and contaminants are moving and what the best methods of controlling them might be.
Common Prescriptive Solutions Include:
- Air Sealing the duct system
- Insulating the duct system
- Air sealing attic floor and crawl space ceiling
- Air sealing leaks from inside the home
- Adding a fresh air duct to the heating system
- Installing whole house ventilation (timer driven exhaust fans)
- Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
- Crawl space renovation and clean up
- Insulating floors, walls and ceilings
- And more… the answer is unique to your home!
Good luck and feel free to ASK AN EXPERT if you have any questions.