Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important for Your Home?


The quality of the air you breathe affects not only your immediate comfort, but also your long-term health. According to Consumer Reports, the air inside your home can actually be five times more polluted than the air outside. It's necessary to know what systems are an essential part of a healthy home, the symptoms of poor air quality and the many reasons indoor air quality is so important.

What Systems Are Part of a Healthy Home?

There are several aspects of an advanced air filtration system that keep your home healthy and provide the highest quality air.

  • Using low VOCs - When your house is being constructed, it's important to use products that have low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Products that often contain high levels of VOCs include paints and wood preservatives.
  • Venting out toxins - Any toxins or chemicals that are in your home need to be eliminated as efficiently as possible with excellent ventilation systems. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety lists several contaminants that can get into your home. A few include fungi, mold, asbestos and carbon dioxide.
  • Sealing duct work properly - Contaminated duct work can bring air into your home that contains bacteria, mold and mildew. Mastic sealing of duct work and duct work testing should be conducted before moving into your home.
  • Installing filtration systems - Having a top-of-the-line air filtration system is crucial to keeping indoor air as clean as possible. The best filtration systems offer two chambers and levels of filtration. This first includes a MERV 14 filter. The second uses a combination of titanium plates and UV lights to help sterilize the air.

Can a Home Be Too Airtight?

If the work is completed correctly, a home can't be sealed too tightly. However, if it's not done properly a fresh air supply could be limited. The home could also create a vacuum effect. It's crucial to work with a builder that understands how important it is for your health to construct a sealed home.

This makes it necessary for you to find a company that knows how to build homes and implement systems that can introduce the right amount of fresh air and keep a proper balance throughout the home.

What Symptoms Are Linked to Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Poor indoor air quality is not only less comfortable but can also affect your health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that there are several symptoms and conditions that are often linked to poor indoor air quality. Immediate symptoms can include throat, nose and eye irritation. You may also experience fatigue, headaches and dizziness.

Long-term effects may show up years later and can cause serious health problems. Some health conditions related to air quality can include heart disease, respiratory problems and even some types of cancer. Age and preexisting health conditions can affect how each individual would react to various pollutants in the air.

How Can Indoor Air Quality Help People With Breathing Issues?

Indoor air quality is something you don't automatically notice, but can have an extreme impact on both your health and your comfort level. There are several benefits of Indoor AirPLUS Homes.

  • Improve indoor air quality - Homes that are constructed to earn the airPLUS label provide features that can eliminate mold, radon, carbon monoxide and a variety of other harmful chemicals.
  • Improve comfort - With a customized HVAC system, improved duct quality, proper ventilation and a superior installation process, an airPLUS home provides you and your family with optimum comfort in temperature and air quality.
  • Minimize pollutants - By controlling pests and moisture, your family will be protected from a variety of allergens and pollutants that often find their way into homes built with less stringent standards.
  • Protect against combustion pollutants - An airPLUS home includes equipment that won't spill or leak combustible gases in your home.
  • Energy efficiency - Homes built to airPLUS standards deliver energy savings up to 30 percent higher than a typical home.
  • Maintenance manual - After purchasing a home that meets airPLUS qualifications, you'll receive a manual explaining how to operate your home to minimize air quality problems.

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important With a Net Zero Home?

Indoor air quality is an important aspect of a low-energy/net zero home. Indoor airPLUS is a program that works in partnership with ENERGY STAR. To receive the indoor airPLUS label a home must first be designed to be ENERGY STAR certified. Then a builder must meet additional construction and design criteria. An independent inspector will then ensure compliance.

Homes that are Energy Star certified must meet several criteria in order to be considered an Indoor airPLUS home. A few of the requirements include the following:

  • Moisture control - This includes properly sealing basements and crawlspaces, insulating pipes and protection from water splash damage.
  • Efficient HVAC systems - Effective systems will keep humidity at optimum levels, duct systems adequately protected and clothes dryers vented to the outside.
  • Quality materials - It crucial to use high quality, energy-efficient materials throughout your home. This includes interior paint that is low-emission as well as all carpets, cushions and adhesives that have been certified low-emission.

For the most energy-efficient home with high indoor air quality, it's important to design your home to meet ENERGY STAR and indoor airPLUS standards. High Performance Homes (HPH) build homes that are both beautifully designed and extremely energy-efficient. Unlike traditional homes, HPH builds homes that are sealed exceptionally tight to provide the best indoor air quality possible. Contact HPH for information on how you can have the home of your dreams without the excessive energy costs.

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