We spend a lot of time indoors these days. Most of that time, the house is shut up tight. Modern, airtight homes help to lower utility bills by preventing air leaks, but lack of ventilation in tight homes can contribute to problems with indoor air quality. Here are five ways to protect your indoor air quality.
- Ventilation. There are four basic ventilation system types: exhaust, balanced, supply and energy/heat recovery. Exhaust ventilation is the most common, and effectively removes excess humidity from the bathroom or kitchen by exhausting it outdoors, while preventing moisture buildup that may lead to mold. Supply systems add fresh air to the home, while balanced systems introduce and exhaust equal supplies of air. Energy and heat recovery systems minimize energy and heat loss.
- Good filtration. Use a good quality air filter in your HVAC system to catch pollutants before they are drawn into your system and recirculated in your home's air. The inexpensive fiberglass filters many homeowners use in their systems do little to improve indoor air quality, so choose one of polyester/cotton rated at least MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 8-12.
- Air cleaning. There are many types of air cleaners, but a whole-house model installed in your HVAC system will do the best job of purifying the air. Portable models will just clean the air in the room in which they are located. Electrostatic air cleaners are effective at attracting airborne particulates by means of an electric charge. Ultraviolet germicidal radiation lights, or UV lights, are installed inside the system and are useful in treating mold, mildew and fungus.
- Stop pollution at the source. Remove shoes before entering the home, brush pollen off clothes before entering, and brush pets outdoors to get rid of pet dander, an allergen.
- Fix water leaks promptly. Leaks from pipes, roofs or ceilings can result in moist conditions that create a haven for mold, mildew and fungus, the spores of which cause respiratory problems.
For more on protecting indoor air quality, contact P.K. Wadsworth. We've served the Greater Cleveland area since 1936.