Aardvark Newsletter No. 23
Inside this issue:
· How to Increase Air Flow Through Your Home
A well ventilated home can help keep indoor air healthy and moisture problems under control. In winter, the biggest concern is stopping unwanted air leaks that suck heat and energy out. It seems that the options are either open to the elements with fresh air or a winter of stale indoor environment but there are some options to increase air flow through your home, even when windows and doors are sealed up for the cold months.
Less air movement in winter is usually a benefit. The less drafts, leaks and displacement of heated air that there are means that interiors stay cozy and warm. Still, inside the tightly sealed walls are odors and pollutants that can compromise indoor air quality. Some byproducts of activities, like cooking, can cause moisture problems. In winter, turn your sights towards mechanical ventilation to keep air fresh and circulating.
The best place to start is in the kitchen, this is often the place where odors, moisture and other pollutants start. Make sure your kitchen is properly vented to the outdoors with a vent hood. Keep it clean and well-maintained and be sure to use it to control odors and moisture that can condense and cause wood and finishes to rot.
If you have a forced hot air AC system, use the fan to circulate air throughout the house. Even unconditioned (not heated or cooled) air that passes through your ducts will be forced through a simple filter that is standard on most systems. Make sure the filter and ductwork is clean and move air with the “fan only” setting. You can also consider upgrading this filter to larger media-type or even a whole house HEPA to cleanse the air during winter months.
One last option that many homeowners often overlook is a heat exchanger. These attachments are common on industrial buildings that condition air year round and are responsible for supplying fresh air to many floors and people.
Heat exchangers are fairly simple. Warm indoor air and cold outdoor pass each other along channels of a box, the heat exchanger. The air streams are kept separate; old air is pushed out and fresh air is sucked in. The heat from escaping air transfers through aluminum plates in the heat exchanger warming the incoming air.
Also called heat-recovery ventilators, these simple tools replenish indoor air, allow ventilation for moisture and odors and can retain upwards of 80% of the outgoing heat. This type of system preheats the incoming air and reduces the load on the furnace. They can be expensive depending on the model but offer an effective way to increase air flow without compromising heating efforts.
Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
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