“Houses don’t need to breathe but the people in them do!” –Jamie Clark, President
Indoor air quality is a growing concern with many families suffering from allergies, asthma and other breathing difficulties. To make sure the air in your home is as healthy as possible we have a 2-pronged attack.
Step 1. Eliminate unwanted air infiltration
First we must control where your air is coming from. Leaks from outside pull in air from crawlspaces, attics, basements and other undesirable locations. This is called infiltration and it is one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution.
Think of the air in your house like water. If your water came through the basement foundation or up from your dirty crawl space you most certainly would not drink it would you? Then why would you breathe air that comes from the same dirty places? By insulating and air-sealing your house we can reduce or eliminate infiltration and then we can bring in fresh air through intentional mechanical ventilation. The phrase we like to use is “Build it tight and vent it right!”
Step 2. Clean the air and set the humidity
The second way we address indoor air quality is through adding accessories to your home’s heating and cooling system to filter, purify and properly humidify or dehumidify your air. Several of our most popular accessories are detailed below.
Energy recovery ventilators (ERV)
This system allows us to bring in fresh air from outside while filtering it and controlling its temperature. In colder climates where buildings have gotten much tighter by code they now mandate that all homes have fresh air ventilation like an ERV.
Ultraviolet light systems with carbon odor elimination
These UV light systems kill microorganisms within your ductwork. Mold, viruses and other germs are eliminated from the air as it passes by the UV light, helping to keep colds and allergies from plaguing your family. With the addition of carbon, this product eliminates odors leaving your house with fresh, clean air.
Proper humidification is critical for a healthy, comfortable home. The ideal humidity for most people is 46%, but many of homes in Kentucky range from a high of 70% in the summer to a low of 15% in the winter.
High humidity leaves us susceptible to mold and other dangerous fungi. Dust mites, which cause allergic reactions in almost all human beings, thrive in high humidity. Excessively low humidity, on the other hand, causes dry skin issues and can dry your eyes and nasal passages – leaving you more prone to colds and flu.
Wide fluctuations in humidity are most likely caused by a leaky house, so this is another area where air sealing can help. Once we have addressed the home’s air leaks, we may need to humidify in the winter and dehumidify in the summer to get us to that healthy range of 40%-60%. In many cases we can dehumidify your home with a properly sized air conditioner but some cases require a separate dehumidifier to be added to your duct system.
Electronic air cleaners or advanced air filtration
We have many products available that will clean your air even beyond the levels that hospitals use, but for most of us a deep-paper cartridge filter is all we need. Electronic air cleaners are very nice for the family that needs the extra filtration for severe allergies or for someone with an illness or a compromised immune system.
Get cleaner air and a healthier lifestyle today. Call Synergy and schedule a consultation.
Jamie at Synergy Home was absolutely wonderful to work with on my 180-year-old house remodel. This was a very challenging house project because this old house never had air conditioning. The crew was extremely knowledgeable. They solved the problem of where to route the lines and chose the... Read More
This is a conversation about gas furnaces, so if you have an all-electric heat pump or some other heat source then this article is not for you, but please check back soon since we will be writing about other forms of heating in the coming weeks.