Air Sealing Your Maryland Home? Consider Whole House Ventilation Too

July 30, 2015 Written by  Comments Print
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Are you getting your Maryland house air sealed? Then you need to consider whole house ventilation as well. Why? In short, because once your house is air sealed, it's harder for pollutants that originate inside it to escape. But where are these pollutants coming from? And what exactly is whole house ventilation anyway? The answers, in our blog.


Why You Should Consider Whole House Ventilation After Air Sealing

Where are these indoor air pollutants coming from?

You might be wondering how pollutants are originating inside your home. Isn't the outside air what's supposed to be polluted?

Actually, it's the other way around. Indoor air quality is usually worse than outdoor air quality. This is because a lot of pollutants originate inside. This includes:

  • Combustion byproducts from gas cooking, water heating and heating systems.

  • Volatile organic compounds. Building materials release these pollutants, known as VOCs, over time. Everything from your carpet to your sofa releases VOCs.

  • Humidity/moisture from showers, dishwasher, etc. While moisture in the air isn't inherently bad for you, it can promote mold growth, which is bad.

What does this have to do with air sealing?

Getting your Maryland home air sealed is one of the best things you can do in terms of improving its energy efficiency. But it also creates another issue that needs to be address. And that is that once the house is tightly sealed, it's a lot harder for these VOCs to escape.

What's the solution?

You certainly don't want to allow VOCs to build up in your home and degrade the quality of the air you're breathing. So what do you do?

Well, you could of course open the windows. This is called natural ventilation, and is a simple fix. However, opening the windows is really not practical from a number of standpoints. Why bother sealing your home if you're just going to unseal it by opening the windows anyway?

Spot ventilation is another solution, and it's one you may already use. Spot ventilation is using things like an exhaust fan above the range in the kitchen, or an exhaust fan in the bathroom to vent out moisture. While these are good for taking care of a small area, they really can't meet the ventilation needs of your entire house.

Whole House Ventilation

Whole house ventilation takes a holistic approach to ventilating your home. As the name implies, the goal of this system is to exhaust stale air from and supply fresh air to your entire home. This ensures that even in an air sealed home in Maryland, pollutants will be exhausted outside and clean air will be brought inside.

There are a number of examples of whole house ventilation systems. A fresh air intake into the return duct of a furnace or heat pump is one example. Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) are another. These can operate independently, or added to an existing HVAC system. One benefit of HRVs over ERVs is that they don't transfer the humidity level of the exhaust air to the intake air.

When is whole house ventilation required?

Whole house ventilation is needed when the house is sealed to below the Building Airflow Standard (BAS). Not sure if your home is below the BAS? Our energy audits in Maryland can measure this.


Interested in learning more?

If you're interested in learning more about what air sealing and whole house ventilation can do for your home, contact greeNEWit today! Our residential home energy audits can improve your home's comfort, energy efficiency, durability, and safety, while lowering energy bills. Call us today at 866.994.7639 to start your energy savings!

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