Category: Air Quality
There is a lot of talk lately about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and the air we breath. You may have already read some of our other IAQ posts, but what has changed that it is getting even more attention? Why wasn’t this as important 5 years, 10 year, 30 years ago? That is a great question and one that has many answers.
They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To. Most of the time this is a negative for the newer item. That’s not the case here. Newer houses are constructed to a much tighter building standard that requires the house to be better insulated and more energy efficient. The biggest thing a homeowner will notice is that there are much less drafts. Here’s where it gets tricky. Less drafts are great from a comfort and efficiency standpoint but not good from an IAQ standpoint. The drafts you feel are outside air coming into the home and by default exchanging the stale air inside the home. Tighter homes do not have a natural way of exchanging the air, causing it to stagnate. Homeowners need to open windows or doors to accomplish this (not a great plan for those living in areas where it is 100 degrees outside or on the other end of the spectrum, minus 10).
Knowledge. We are getting smarter. Studies have found that the air we breath inside our home can be up to 5 times more polluted than the outside air – yikes! That is from normal living. We have now learned that things like cooking, showering (creating mold and mildew if not properly ventilated), using cleaning chemicals or air fresheners and so forth are major contributors to bad IAQ. Just think how dusty your home gets and now realize that dust comes from somewhere and how much of that air we breath in. We then go back to the first point and with a tighter home, there is even less chance for these pollutants to escape.
The Easy Factor. As we mentioned, a major contributor to bad IAQ are all the chemical products we use inside our homes. They are convenient and generally do the job. Included in these are air fresheners. There are two inherit issues with them. First is they are a chemical solution and second, why do you need them in the first place? Think of how much could be avoided by just having a properly ventilated home. Let something cook a little too long on the stove – a good range hood will take care of that. Kids clothing stinking up the house – a good exhaust fan plus fresh air coming into the home will take care of that. That spicy chili from last night causing an extended stay in the bathroom – rather then emptying a can of air freshener, a good exhaust fan will take care of that.
So are we all doomed? Nope, there is hope and it is actually an easy solution. As mentioned earlier, a properly ventilated home increase the IAQ dramatically – using bath fans, range hoods and other ventilation fans. That takes care of getting the bad air out of the home but you also want to bring fresh air into the home. When keeping a window or door open is not an option, a mechanical solution might be the answer. A product like the Air King QFAM provides a flow of filtered air into the home and can be set to account for humidity levels and temperature of the air coming in. Products like the QFAM can be installed in a non-intrusive location of the home and provide the fresh air that you need.