Whether you believe climate change is by man or by nature, one thing we know for sure, our climate is changing. As it changes, it will have a bigger and bigger effect on indoor air quality. Large increases or decreases in rainfall and snowfall, temperature extremes, and changes in the frequency and intensity of storms can significantly impact indoor air. Floods may increase the dampness and lead to mold problems. Hot, dry conditions may drive us indoors, increasing our usage of our A/C units.
As outdoor conditions become more challenging, the challenge of maintaining proper indoor air quality increases. This is why many new home construction projects are placing more importance on air quality issues. Such mindful building not only helps improve air quality, but it reduces a building’s contribution to climate change by making it more energy efficient.
Weatherizing your home is a manageable step to keeping climate change from becoming a big issue in your home. Installing weather stripping, storm windows, caulking, and proper insulation are all essentials. You should also assess whether you need to adjust the ventilation to accommodate any weatherization changes you make in your home.
How much ventilation should your home have? The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning recommends 0.35 air changes per hour, but not less than 15 cubic feet per minute per person. To calculate this for a whole house, technicians and planners use a common rule of thumb: multiply the number of bedrooms plus 1 by 15 cfm. For instance, a 2 bedroom house would require 45 cfm of outdoor air. Bathroom and kitchen air flow is measured separately. The bathroom should have an intermittent capacity rate of 50 cfm and the kitchen, 100 cfm.
Air filtration is another factor that can improve indoor air quality. The EPA recommends that air filters have a dust-spot rating between 35% and 80% and a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) between 8 and 13. This not only helps clean the air, but can increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. Because less particulate matter is floating around, more air is drawn through the coils and ductwork of your system with less effort.
What the immediate future holds for air quality, we don’t know. What we do know is that working to have a home heating and cooling system that improves your indoor air quality is good for you and the environment.
P.K. Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between. To get started, check out our website.