When too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can become more concentrated and get to levels that can pose health and comfort problems.
Modern homes can be built “tight” and might not allow enough fresh air in and stale air out of the house to properly control the levels of indoor air pollution. And leaky, drafty homes can allow too much outdoor air into the home, pushing out conditioned air and bringing in not only unwanted hot air (in summer) or cold air (in winter), but also allergens, dust, and humidity. Generally, a tighter home with proper mechanical ventilation will be most effective in reducing indoor air pollution. Just remember: "seal tight, and ventilate right."
The EPA recommends a rate of .35 ACH (natural air changes per hour — that is, just over 1/3 of the air in your home being replaced every hour; or 3 hours for a full air change) for healthy indoor air quality. The average home has a much higher rate of natural air infiltration than this. Ventilation standards like ASHRAE 62.2 are largely designed for newer, energy efficient buildings that have very little air leakage. However, after significant air sealing efforts, an older, leakier home may be sealed tight enough to require mechanical ventilation. This is great because you, the homeowner, will now have control over your indoor environment.
New homes may have indoor air quality issues also, especially if the builder does not take this into consideration. Does your home ever feel stuffy? Have you noticed condensation on windows or mold/mildew anywhere in the home? Does anyone in your family have asthma or other respiratory issues? You may have a very tight new house with little fresh air exchange.
Solutions to your home's ventilation problems are usually as simple as installing a bathroom fan, air sealing, and/or installing an energy recovery ventilator. The best thing you can do as a homeowner to ensure that your home is as energy efficient and as healthy as possible is to have Orange Energy help you prioritize the various investments that can be made to improve your home. And remember our simple mantra: "seal tight, and ventilate right."