Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI Jan 2019

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Healthy Indoors | 51 A s the saying goes, the home is where the heart is. As it turns out, it is also where your lungs breath in for the majority of your day. If your home struggles with poor indoor air quality (IAQ), you and others in your home are more likely to experience allergy symptoms, eye irrita- tion, difficulty breathing, and other health issues. Here is the good news: it is possible to build a better in- door environment. In this article, we will explore how home- owners building a new home or remodeling their current one can not only avoid major IAQ mistakes but can actually work proactively to make their home's air more breathable. New construction Building a new house is an exciting process for any soon- to-be homeowner. Yet, with all the things to do and focus on, indoor air quality can get lost in the mix. However, pay- ing attention to IAQ during the planning and construction phase can make a big difference. Here is why: The best time to add ventilation is during the design phase When it comes to improving your indoor air quality, ventila- tion is the one thing you want to build into the design of your home ahead of time. This means installing windows that can be opened, adding extra fan in bathrooms and thinking ahead about the ductwork in your home and how air is cir- culated to individual rooms and spaces. Check what materials are being used Unfortunately, many of the homes built today are construct- ed using chemicals and materials that can negatively im- pact your indoor air quality, right off the bat. Here are just a few of the chemicals to be on the lookout for: • Formaldehyde: This irritant can be found in many finished wood products. Be sure to ask your cabinet installer is formaldehyde is used in the manufacturing of your kitchen cabinets. • VOCs: Carpet glue, surface finishes like paints and stains, and a host of other products can contain these irritating chemicals, which can cause all kinds of air quality issues in your home down the road. • Resins & Sealants: If you have new kitchen or bathroom counters, be aware that they may be sealed with chemicals and resins that negatively impact your indoor air quality. Have IAQ solutions installed from the start In so many ways, a new home represents a fresh start for you and your family. The same principle should apply to the air you breathe. With this in mind, have your local HVAC contractor install a whole-home air purification system be- fore you move in. Right from the start, you will have the peace of mind that comes with clean, breathable air. Consider your HRV/ERV options By installing a HRV or ERV system in your new build, you can make your new home more energy-efficient and im- prove your indoor air quality at the same time. Heat Re- covery Ventilation (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) setups both take air from within your home and use it to pre-treat incoming ventilation air, adjusting the humidity and temperature as needed. This makes your home more comfortable and reduces the workload on your HVAC sys- tems. A heat recovery unit can capture up to 95% of the heat otherwise lost in exhausted air. During construction, ask your home builder about your HRV / ERV options. There are several types of these ventila- tion systems, each with their own advantages, disadvantag- es, and installation parameters. Homeowners looking to add a HRV / ERV setup to an already existing home have plenty of options, as well, as these systems provide a great one- two punch of energy savings and improved indoor air quality. Remodels & Home Additions If you are planning a major home remodel, you need to take your indoor air quality into account. Here are just a few ways you can design with your IAQ in mind: Breathing easier should be on the agenda If you are a homeowner who struggles with issues related to poor indoor air quality, your home remodel should take improving the air you breathe into account. Here are some ways to go about doing just that: • Ventilation: Whether you are adding a bathroom or just sprucing one up, do not forget to install powerful ventila- tion fans to help quickly remove odors, cooking smoke, and excess humidity. A ceiling fan can also keep air circu- lating in any room of your home. • Windows: Nothing beats natural, fresh air when the weather is right. Choose windows that you can open so that the remodeled part of your home can take advantage of outdoor air. • IAQ Systems: Make room in your remodeling budget for an air purification system. The EPA recommends that you look at systems that can simultaneously handle a large amount of air and remove a large percentage of particulates.

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