We’ve been talking about improving the quality of the air in your home. And who wouldn't like to have clean mountain air right in their home? In an earlier post from GAMA Air we pointed out that this is a topic that should be taken seriously. And then in another post we began to list steps to improve your indoor air quality, namely with source control. Now we’re going to move on to the next biggest factor:
Another approach to lower the amount of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air that comes inside.
We mentioned earlier that many newer homes are sealed tighter for energy efficiency, but that this also means trapping in odors and airborne contaminants. What about just opening the windows like the “good ol’ days”? Well, it can help, but the climate around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino doesn’t always make this a reasonable option. Not only that, but even opening your windows does not guarantee an exchange of air with the outside due to various factors.
It is particularly important to increase the amount of ventilation through open windows and doors and by exhaust fans during certain short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants. For example if you are painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding, then more even more outdoor air is needed. You might also decide it is best to do some of these activities outdoors if you can and if weather permits.
Let’s emphasize that when we talk about “ventilation” we are referring to bringing fresh air into the house. It is true that your kitchen and bathrooms may have exhaust fans. Wait, on that topic, check the fan over your stove and see if it is really exhausting the air to the outside and not just recirculating it back into the kitchen through a grease filter. But for the sake of this conversation let’s assume that it truly is exhausting to the outside. These fans help remove contaminants directly from the bathroom or kitchen, but again they do not guarantee an exchange of air with the outside. Why not? Because any air that is pushed from inside your house to the outside must be replaced by air that comes from the outside. So if your home is well sealed, and there is very little infiltration of air, then the exhaust fans won’t be able to push much air outside.
For this reason, the EPA recommends that houses be equipped with some form of mechanical ventilation that ensures a certain level of air exchange with the outdoors. The exact figures of how much air is needed (measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM) are still being debated. But it has been clearly established that some air exchange is vital. A typical central air system or exhaust fans play an important role in this regard but since neither is typically left on all the time there are additional measures you should consider.
There are variety of mechanical ventilation systems on the market that have been designed specifically to increase the air exchange rate between the inside of your home and the outdoors. Some of these systems have the added benefit of saving some of the energy in the air before exhausting it, which mitigates the cost of having to re-heat or re-cool the fresh air coming into your home.
The professional staff here at GAMA Air are ready to help you understand what your options are for home ventilation. Just give us a call at (310) 651-6936, or use our online form to schedule a free visit where we can review with you what options will be particularly suited to the unique situation in your home. Stay tuned for the next step: Air Purification.
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