Ever wondered what the “V” in HVAC stands for? If you guessed “ventilation” you’re correct! Proper ventilation is necessary for staying warm and comfortable indoors during the winter months. On average, people in the U.S. spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. While your furnace works hard to keep you warm, it doesn’t always result in the best indoor air quality.
During this season, contaminants have no way to escape your home. These pollutants can cause poor air quality, which can negatively affect on you and your family members with scratchy throats, headaches, allergies and general discomfort. Here are a few additional reasons why proper ventilation is important for your home:
- Reduce condensation: If the moisture inside your home isn’t controlled, it can cause your wallpaper to peel, mildew and mold to form and structural damage to your wooden supports. This happens when humid air cools quickly and can’t hold all of the moisture. This moisture moves to the coldest surface, usually your windows, forming water droplets. Proper ventilation will regulate the temperature inside your home and control those moisture levels.
- Protect against allergens, respiratory issues and asthma: Without good ventilation, pollen, dust and other irritants become trapped inside your home and make those who suffer from allergies uncomfortable. Similarly, the build-up of damp and moldy conditions inside your home contributes to the development of asthma and other respiratory issues. Proper ventilation removes large particles from the air and supplies the home with adequate amounts of fresh air.
- Decrease VOC concentrations: Volatile organic compounds are emissions that come from chemicals in household cleaners, paints and furnishings. They become highly toxic in high concentrations and it’s nearly impossible to completely remove them from indoor air.
Knowing how to properly ventilate your home will remove contaminants and provide your home with high quality indoor air. Here are a few options to consider:
- Upgrade or replace your HVAC filters: This is something you can easily do on your own. First, locate your filters, count how many you have and determine their size. Consider upgrading your filters with a high MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. This might increase your energy use as it causes your HVAC system to work a little harder, but it will ensure much cleaner air flowing inside your home. Strive to change your filters on a monthly basis. A good rule of thumb is to change them with the arrival of your utility bill.
- Schedule a routine duct cleaning: Ask your HVAC professional about scheduling a routine duct cleaning. These cleanings are essential for stripping away dust and other unwanted particles that build-up on the inner walls of your ductwork. The more build-up you have, the more contaminated air, bad odors and mold may infiltrate into your home causing serious illness.
- Consider a whole-home filtration system: If someone in your household experiences severe asthma, allergies or respiratory issues, you may want to invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration system to make the air inside your home as clean as possible. While they may seem expensive, they are a strong investment in your family’s long-term health.
If you have questions about the indoor air quality within your home and how to improve it, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help!