Today’s homes are well-sealed against the elements. That is great for energy efficiency, but not so great for indoor air quality. The fact is indoor air can be significantly more polluted than outside air because chemicals and allergens get in, but can’t get out. Ventilation is an important factor in the health and safety or your home. Tools such as the air filter on your furnace, an air cleaner and a dehumidifier can improve ventilation and greatly enhance the quality of your indoor air and the overall comfort you experience.
What is Ventilation?
Ventilation, as it applies to a home or other indoor space, is the movement of air to replace contaminated air with fresh air. Without a way to circulate air, which may be as simple as opening a window, toxins and irritants accumulate. This may result in irritated eyes, nasal passages, and throat; sneezing and coughing, or even difficulty breathing; and headaches. Many people experience discomfort from poor air quality, but for people with allergies, asthma or other respiratory illnesses, this can be especially uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Common Culprits of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality can be compromised from a number of sources. Dust, pollen and other pollutants blow in from outside, and we also carry these irritants in on our clothing, shoes, and even in our hair. Our pets track them in as well.
An array of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene and xylene, are produced by many common household cleaners and furnishings. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and mold result from everyday activities like cooking, bathing and even breathing.
So how can we balance the need for energy efficiency as well as the benefits of warming and cooling our homes, with the need for clean air? Good ventilation!
3 Home Ventilation Tips
Creating a safe indoor environment is not difficult. Here are 3 home ventilation tips you can use today to ensure an adequate supply of fresh, clean air in your home.
Utilize exhaust fans to draw air from a particular location and vent it to the outside. Known as “spot ventilation,” this is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchen fans prevent an accumulation of carbon monoxide when cooking. Bathroom fans reduce the chance of mold growth.
Let natural air in.
Even in winter, assuming the outside air is not worse than the indoor air, it is a good idea to occasionally open a window or two to encourage air circulation. Use a whole-house fan to enhance air movement, both into and out of the home.
Clean the air.
Install an air cleaner and/or a whole home or single-room dehumidifier. Change the air filter on your HVAC system every 30 to 90 days. Clean carpets with a HEPA-filtered vacuum. Limit the use of chemical cleaners, and avoid using air fresheners and other heavily scented products. Don’t smoke indoors.
Contact IAQ today for your ventilation needs. IAQ serves homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.