8 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

8 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

While reducing energy costs, improving lifestyle and comfort.  Hint, our most effective recommendations are not on the list above.

Air Seal Your Home to improve indoor air quality

Whether you are remodeling your home or in the process of making gradual upgrades, air sealing your house is a crucial step towards improving indoor air quality. That is because the process of air sealing will make sure that outdoor air contaminants such as fiberglass at the parameter of the home, debris, critters, rodents, bugs, etc stay out of your home.

Air sealing should occur on both sides of the exterior wall, meaning air seal all seams from the exterior and interior prior to installing finishing surfaces such as floors, walls, and trim. Ductwork running through unconditioned spaces such as attics or crawlspaces should also be sealed.

1. Detecting Air Leaks

On a windy and cold day, you can easily identify air leaks using the back of your hand against any areas of home that have cobwebs or cracked caulking on the trim while running negative pressure appliances. Ensure that you seal any cracks as soon as you identify them and then carefully double-check the quality of your work. An energy audit can help determine why and how to remedy it.

Ideally the exterior caulking would be done first, but the majority of sealants require 40 degrees or above.  If you wish to make sure that professionals take care of this task for you, feel free to reach out to us as we provide top quality air sealing services.

2. Caulk Exterior Seams of the Home

During the warmer months, negative pressures inside the home can draw in warm moist air from outside or produce uncomfortable warm temperatures on the 2nd floor (typically where bedrooms are located).

When this moist air comes in contact with surfaces that are below the dew-point temperature, condensation often forms, providing an excellent breeding ground for mildew and other molds, which are known respiratory irritants.

The same is true during the winter if the house is pressurized, driving moisture-laden air out of the building. Consider caulking exterior seams, such as windows to siding, windows to brick, under the window sill, etc., to prevent air leaks and maintain indoor air quality.

3. Energy Recovery Ventilator

Alternatively using an ERV bathroom fan such as  Panasonic FV-04VE1 Whisper Comfort ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) Ventilation Fan, boasts (Balanced Air Solution, Extremely Quiet, Long Lasting, Easy to Install, Code Compliant, Energy Star Certified).

This fan would reduce negative pressure and reduce both heat loss from the home during winter and cool air during summer. This would also lower the amount of potential contaminants intake to the conditioned space.

4. Weatherstripping Around Doors and Windows

One practical tip is to regularly check and replace missing, torn, or worn weatherstripping around doors and windows. This simple step helps seal off potential air leaks, keeping indoor air clean and free from pollutants, allergens, and drafts.

5. Air Seal the Bypass of the Attic Floor to reduce Stack Effect

The stacking effect occurs when warm air rises and creates pressure differences in the home, leading to air leaks and energy loss. By sealing attic bypasses, such as gaps around water pipes, electrical wires, and duct penetrations, you can prevent warm air from escaping into the attic and cold air from infiltrating living spaces.

6. Dust and Vacuum Regularly to improve indoor air quality.

Top-quality vacuum cleaners are quite costly, but they are a very effective force against pet hair, pollen, and dust, all of which can build up and bother your respiratory organs. To maintain and improve air quality in your home, you should vacuum as frequently as possible, especially under the beds and sofas.

Bash your rugs and cushions against your home’s outer walls to reduce the volume of dust they have accumulated. On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, change your bedding and thoroughly wash it to kill off germs and dust mites. Keep the surfaces in your home clutter-free so you can dust frequently and easily. Furthermore, make use of a damp cloth to catch annoying particles.

Too many times we receive calls for air quality assessment only to find the return vents on the HVAC system, filters, and seams of the home are filled with hair, skin dust, and other pollutants.

7. Open Your Windows Regularly

Opening your windows may sound like an obvious solution, but making sure your airflow is fresh is the easiest and most economical way to the quality of air inside your home.  This is not to be confused with tightening up the home, homes being too tight, unwanted air intake through the seams of the home, etc.

Although opening your home’s windows during wintertime can seem counterproductive when you are endeavoring to keep warm and save some money on central heating bills, it is important to let oxygen in and pollutants out. Furthermore, opening your windows helps to lower the humidity that dust mites require in order to stay alive.

8. Place Air Purifier / Air Scrubber in Commonly Used Rooms

Set up an air purifier or air scrubber. Pollen and dust particles are microscopic, and it is not possible to clean something you are not able to see! That is where an air purifier comes in the picture! Top-quality air purifying machines are able to ensnare and eliminate almost 100 percent of air pollutants by drawing in filthy air, filtering it, and releasing fresh and clean air.

A few air purifiers discharge negative ions in the air to neutralize airborne bacteria and viruses.

Prioritization ( biggest bang for buck ) to improve indoor air quality.

There are several areas to focus on to improve the air quality of your home such as detecting air leaks, caulking around the exterior pressure barrier to prevent lower air intake, weatherstripping around doors and windows per manufacturer recommendations. Insulation and ventilation alone do not guarantee any results as the air will travel the next available path of least resistance.

There may be opportunities for multiple improvements to the thermal, moisture and pressure barriers of the conditioned space with a single treatment. Prioritize larger items first. Target the lesser treatments with lower return on investment to make those final improvements ( remember its a percentage game. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/air-sealing-your-home estimates an improvement of 23-30% on gas and electric, while other variables need to be considered to verify and guarantee results.

Together we can lower your heating and cooling bills, reduce discomfort, improve air quality and make the home healthier and happier. You may qualify for energy rebates through https://www.greenattic.com/about-us/rebate.

Contact Green Attic today if you need any assistance in improving your home’s indoor air quality. Healthy Home Happy Family!

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