4 Ideas for Better Home Ventilation

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, reports that a home’s indoor air could be about five times more polluted than outdoor air. Yet, breathing clean air is crucial to our health and wellness—especially at home, where we spend a great deal of time. To accomplish and sustain good quality indoor air at home, proper ventilation (the constant removing of polluted air and replacing with fresh air) is key.

The causes of indoor air pollution are plentiful: harsh cleaning products or remodeling materials, pet dander, hair and debris, carpeting and adhesives, gases, smoke and other pollutants from cooking indoors, and other common household projects—such as sanding, painting, or staining. In addition, outdoor pollutants can make their way into the home causing buildup of pollutants in your home’s environment. Even outside humidity levels can affect your indoor air, and potentially create bigger problems, such as mold and mildew growth.

Doesn’t Sealing Your Home Help?

A properly sealed and weather stripped home is certainly important to keeping the outside elements out, resulting in better energy efficiency and control over your indoor environment. It doesn’t, however, guarantee you good indoor air quality. Good ventilation is key.

Here are 4 smart and simple ways that you can improve your home’s ventilation:

4 Steps to Improve Home Ventilation

  1. Install a semi-controlled ventilation system. These types of systems include both a return duct and an exhaust fan, which help remove polluted air from the indoors and replace it with fresh air. If you are using one of these systems in your home, it’s important that your ductwork is properly sealed; this will prevent pollutants from entering return ducts and circulated throughout your home. This is especially true in the basement, attic, or rooms where household cleaning products and other harsh chemicals are kept.
  2. Operate both kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. These fans work by drawing air from a particular location indoors and releasing it to the outdoors. Each time you cook, use the kitchen’s exhaust fan. Use the bathroom exhaust fan each time after you use the shower or bathe, running the fan for about 1 hour. These exhaust fans work hard to remove contaminants within the kitchen and bathrooms that could cause IAQ problems down the road.
  3. Open all windows and/or doors in your home for at least 15 minutes per day. Doing this will help eliminate polluted air from your indoor space and re-introduce fresh air.This is especially true when the air outdoors is cooler and drier than the air indoors. You can also encourage air flow by using a portable or whole house fan to help the process along. In homes with two or more floors, you can get excellent circulation by opening the windows on multiple levels and allow the air to flow from top to bottom.
  4. Be sure to change your HVAC system’s air filter. This often overlooked chore can make a huge difference in the quality of ventilation throughout your home. A dirty filter not only cannot properly filter out airborne contaminants, but it really clogs up the Ventilation system in your home as well. We recommend that you change your air filter as soon as it gets dirty, approximately every 3 months in an average home. Homes with pets should be a bit more vigilant in filter changing, potentially needing a monthly change. The best way to ensure that your air filter is clean is to check monthly and replace as soon as you notice it is dirty.

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