There’s no place like home.
It is the one phrase that every homeowner hopes to say. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is one of the most important attributes to your home comfort. This applies whether you’re going inside after a hot day or have just finished freezing your tail off in the harsh cold. A big part of what makes your home a haven from whatever the season throws at you is your ventilation.
What is ventilation?
Ventilation is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to IAQ and the comfort of your home’s interior. But before we get too far, let’s define that term.
Ventilation is the movement of fresh air into a conditioned space, either through natural or artificial means. This is a good thing because air that does not move tends to accumulate pollutants and other contaminants. These can be harmful to you and your home.
There are a few different ways air can enter or leave your home: infiltration, natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. Infiltration refers to the natural ways that air flows into your house via openings, joints and cracks in your home. All homes have this to a greater or lesser extent. That’s ok as long as you don’t have any major issues with vermin or structural and water issues. Natural ventilation meanwhile is simply the movement of air that occurs when we open doors or windows in our home. In both these cases, the movement of air is caused by variations in air temperature between indoor and outdoor air and wind speed. We like to say it’s your home “breathing.”
Lastly, there are a number of mechanical ventilation devices that both move air into and out of your home. Outdoor-vented fans can remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms or smoke-filled kitchens, and vent it outside. Some HVAC systems also have air handling systems that use a combination of fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air while also filtering conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. This rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is referred to as the air exchange rate. When it gets too low, your home’s pollutant levels go up.
What happens if your home is not properly ventilated?
Condensation and mold
Without proper ventilation, excessive moisture can quickly build up inside a home from everyday activities such as showering and cooking. As the moisture level rises, this water can then seep into surfaces in your home and provide an ideal environment for mold growth, creating havoc for your IAQ.
Proper ventilation reduces the risk of backdrafts. Backdrafts occur when the pressure inside the home is lower than the pressure outside of the home. When this happens, the outdoor air is pulled into the home which is known as backdrafting. This can become very dangerous for the people living inside the home. Combustion gases such as carbon monoxide can get pulled back inside.
What should I do?
Homes benefit from both mechanical and natural ventilation. Exhaust fans are best for ventilating areas that need it most like your bathroom and kitchen. Run these fans periodically to eliminate any potential moisture buildup as well as harmful contaminants from everyday activities like cooking. If you have a home ventilation system, make sure to keep all vents unblocked. An improperly placed rug or couch can very easily cover an air vent. This can in turn greatly prevent the proper flow of air in that room.
At A/C Masters, we offer a variety of solutions for IAQ. Whether it’s installing a new zoning system to help keep your air fresh or a Patriot UV or carbon filtration system to help eliminate pollutants before they circulate throughout your home, we’ve got you covered. Call (757) 847- 5252 today or ask your service technician during your next service how you can breathe a little easier with A/C Masters.