Indoor Air Quality

I know with everyone’s inbox exploding with COVID-19 emails, this one may not even get viewed but with everyone spending a little more quality time than usual in their homes with the current state of events our team found it fitting to offer a bit of information on maintaining good indoor air quality to keep your loved ones safe, keeping your sanity, on the other hand, is a topic we are not qualified to speak on.

The first, and probably the most effective is to ensure your furnace, HRV, and humidifier filters are all clean. It’s always a good idea to have a quality filter, the type of furnace filter you choose to buy depends on the occupants and their sensitivity to allergies. 

When purchasing a filter, you want to look for is the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating, as it defines what kind of air particles a filter will pick up. For example, hospitals will use filters with higher MERV ratings for better air purity.

The basic disposable filters with a MERV rating of 1-4 remove lint and debris from the air but are not fine enough to catch smaller particles. Whereas the pleated filters made from folded cotton with a MERV rating of 5-8 will remove finer particles from the air as well as household lint and dust.

If your goal is to remove microscopic particles from the air, including smog, pollen, smoke, mold, spores, and dust, then a filter with a MERV rating of 9-12 is recommended.

If you or someone you live with suffer allergies, have an autoimmune disease, or other health concerns that may be affected by your home’s air quality, it is better to use furnace filters with higher MERV ratings(11-12) or even a HEPA filtration system.  We have installed and recommend this model from Lennox, https://www.lennox.com/products/indoor-air-quality/air-purification/hepa.

Secondly, you need to make sure the indoor humidity level is at a safe and comfortable level. It seems like a simple enough thing to control, however, the answer can sometimes be difficult to understand because there are many contributing factors as well as an ongoing debate about the safety of the building vs the safety and comfort of the occupants.

Elevated relative humidity levels can lead to problems with mold, corrosion, decay, and other moisture-related deterioration. When relative humidity reaches 100 percent, condensation can occur on surfaces leading to a whole host of additional problems. An elevated relative humidity in carpet and within fabrics can lead to dust mite infestation and mildew (mildew is mold growing on fabrics).

Low relative humidity can lead to discomfort, shrinkage of wood floors and wood furniture, cracking of paint on wood trim and static-electricity discharges. When the air in our homes is too dry, it can allow viruses and other airborne toxins to thrive. Individuals who live in homes without adequate humidity tend to experience more sore throats, dry skin, and illnesses. If your home’s humidity levels drop below 25%, you should use a humidifier to raise it. If you do use a humidifier, make sure that it is cleaned regularly and maintained properly.

The key is not to be too low and not to be too high. High enough to be comfortable, but low enough to avoid moisture problems associated with mold, corrosion, decay, and condensation.

Unfortunately, determining the correct range depends on how the home is constructed, the time of year and the sensitivity and lifestyle of the occupants. We recommend to our homeowners that a safe and comfortable indoor humidity level in the winter months should be around 30-35% as most of our homes are equipped with HRV’s, triple pane windows and have an airtightness around 1.0ACH50 (this is an entire blog on its own).

Another good practice is to circulate new air throughout the home by running the ventilation fan. Most new homes are equipped with a whole-home ventilation system that has the ability the replace the indoor air with new filtered fresh air, the time it takes to do this depends on the size of the fan and the size of the home. 

To ensure our families long term safety it is best to have your home tested for Radon exposure. This is another lengthy blog for another time but it is worth reading about here, https://evictradon.org/radon/. You can also purchase a radon test kit through the website.

We wish you all the best at this time, please feel free to reach out with any questions.

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A Consult

Why settle for anything less than what you desire. Our team of experts will help you bring the home of your dreams to life. Afterall, you deserve the best.

Let’s Meet for a Discovery Consultation

Why settle for anything less than what you desire. Our team of experts will help you bring the home of your dreams to life. Afterall, you deserve the best.