BEECH CREEK - Indoor air quality decreases as less outside air is introduced into the home," said the owner Redmonds Complete Comfort, LLC, in Beech Creek.
"Because of the improved techniques in sealing homes for energy management purposes, ventilation is becoming an extremely important component in indoor air quality," said Brian Redmond. "Tighter homes resulting in less air movement generally means indoor air quality suffers.
"If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can sometimes accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems," he continued. "One successful approach to lowering the concentration of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming in. Outdoor air enters and leaves a house by infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation."
r Infiltration - A process where outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors.
r Natural ventilation - When air moves through open windows and doors.
r Mechanical ventilation - Devices, from exhaust fans (vented outdoors) that intermittently remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms and kitchens, to air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house.
According to Redmond, the most effective method of controlling air quality is through mechanical ventilation. It allows you to introduce fresh air and remove a good share of air pollutants when the air is exchanged. To determine if you have any indoor air quality issues, ask yourself the following questions. Do you have:
r Excess dust
r Stuffy rooms
r Moisture on window panes or sweaty pipes
r Musty odors
r Family members that often sneeze, feel lethargic, or have dry skin (pollutants can sometimes accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems).
In addition to ventilating, controlling the humidity level in your home is a significant factor in air quality and comfort in general. In fact, industry experts state that keeping your home's humidity between 30 and 60 percent can reduce the effects of many unwanted conditions. To determine if you might have an air quality issue as it relates to humidity, review the following symptoms often caused by less than optimum humidity levels.
Too Little Humidity
r Physical symptoms such as sore throats, dry/itchy skin, nose bleeds or sinus irritation.
r Wood floors are shrinking and cracking. Joints in wood furniture are becoming loose or failing.
r Wallpaper is peeling, paint or plaster is starting to crack.
r Static shocks are common occurrences.
r Your thermostat is cranked up, as is your energy bill, but you still feel cold.
r Your piano and other musical instruments are falling out of tune.
Too Much Humidity
r Your skin often feels clammy, sweaty or sticky.
r Musty-smelling odors are invading your living space.
r Wood floors, trim, or wood furniture are warping or rotting, paint is peeling.
r Condensation, frost or ice have formed on the inside surface of your windows. Water pipes are "sweating".
r Damp spots - or worse - mold and mildew have formed on ceilings or walls.
r Allergies or asthma have gotten worse due to the growth of mold, mildew and dust mites.
r Your house is a breeding ground for termites, cockroaches, and other pests.
Of course, this is the time of year when moisture builds to uncomfortable levels. Here's what you can do to treat the problem of too much humidity:
r Activate ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms when in use. Ensure your fans are venting directly outside.
r Cover dirt floor crawlspaces under your house with plastic to act as a vapor barrier.
r Check to make sure your dryer is vented to the outside. Don't dry wet clothes on drying racks in the house. Air-dry them outdoors if possible.
r Ensure air conditioning drip pans are clean and drain lines are unobstructed.
r Fix any water leaks in pipes, toilets, showers, etc.
r Clean and repair roof gutters regularly use covers to keep leaves and sticks from building up in the gutters.
r Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves, to the outside where possible.
r Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
r Use down spout extenders that carry water at least six feet away from the foundation. (show gutter extender)
r Seal unwanted air leaks, including around holes for plumbing and wiring - this is where humid outside air sneaks into the home.
r Use a dehumidifier in addition to your air conditioner to pull out excess moisture that your air conditioner alone can't handle.