Mar 07

Indoor Air Quality: Remove Major Pollutants in Your Home

Ventilation Fan from Free Digital Photos ID-10077099

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported in 1987 that poor indoor air quality is the fourth most common reason people acquire cancer. The EPA speaks of three types of ventilation and the importance of the air exchange rate. Ventilation exists from leaks around windows and doors, an open window or door, or strategically-located fans throughout the household.

Think of it this way, if you were to put yourself into an airtight box, you wouldn’t be able to breathe soon, as the carbon dioxide would build, while the oxygen levels decreased. The same result with indoor air quality happens for households with inadequate air exchange rates.

In the case of the house, as opposed to an airtight box, there are other toxins lowering indoor air quality. Oddly enough, each time you spray air freshener, you are adding toxins to the air you breathe. Minor irritations to asthma can occur immediately or over time.

An incorrectly-adjusted gas stove can cause serious health effects. As you may know, an additive to the natural gas alerts you when there is a leak. However, there is no tell-tale sign when the gas has been used and there are particulates in the air. They are odorless and invisible. The negative effects range from lowering the intelligence in young children to causing lung diseases at any age.

Homes in dry climates can still grow mold. Each time you shower and the humidity remains, mold grows. It may cause a rash on the skin for those who suffer from asthma. You can experience fatigue, nosebleeds, flu-like symptoms, even coughing up blood.

Everyone understands about radon and cigarette smoke, but furniture? Sometimes plywood and particle board furnishings emit formaldehyde. Even wallpaper and carpets can. This causes irritations, headaches, even cancer.

The action item here is maintaining or acquiring good ventilation. There are numerous ways to improve indoor air quality to remove pollutants. Each time a shower is taken or a meal is made, a large quantity of humidity is added to the air. This is why kitchen and bathroom fans are normally found in households, regardless of what type of HVAC system may be installed.

There are three common types of mechanical ventilation systems:

• Supply Ventilation Systems – fresh air is brought in from outside.
• Exhaust Ventilation Systems – stale air is removed from inside.
• Balanced Ventilation Systems – stale air is removed while fresh air brought in simultaneously.

For the efficient types, the heat and humidity will be exchanged from the outgoing air to the incoming air. The choice of which one is right for you depends on your climate.

There are also attic and basement ventilation fans for temperature and humidity control. Now that you know the why behind ventilation fans, stay tuned for the do it yourself installation of fans.

1 comment

  1. Renae K

    This is a great article! It has given me some really useful information I can put into practice right away, like remembering to turn on the bathroom and kitchen fans when those areas of the house are being used. Plus I now have a greater understanding of residential ventilation, something I didn’t realize was so important for good health. Thanks!

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