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Why Ventilation Is Essential to Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality


Even if no one in your Holly Springs, Georgia, home suffers from allergies or asthma, you don’t want to overlook assessing your home’s indoor air quality. The quality of your indoor air directly impacts your quality of life. Biological agents, dust mites, pet dander, odors, pollen, and tobacco smoke all contribute to indoor air pollution. While keeping your home clean can help, ensuring proper ventilation can go a long way to improving your home’s indoor air quality.

Home Ventilation Explained

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollutant levels inside your home can increase if not enough outdoor air enters your home. Newer homes, in particular, tend to be better insulated and sealed than older homes. At certain times of the year, such as winter, when windows are closed, indoor pollutants can accumulate and pose problems for your household.

Signs that your home may not have the proper ventilation include condensation forming on windows, stuffy air or unpleasant odors, dirty HVAC system vents, and biological growth in areas with high humidity (such as bathrooms) or mudrooms where coats, outerwear, and shoes collect.

Sources of Home Ventilation

Outside air enters into and exits your home through three sources of ventilation: infiltration, mechanical ventilation, and natural ventilation.

  • Infiltration refers to air flow occurring through openings in your home. Areas such as joints in building material, cracks in walls or floors, and the spaces around doors and window frames are all sources of infiltration.
  • Mechanical ventilation refers to equipment that moves air into and out of your home, such as an exhaust fan in your bathroom that vents air outdoors. Fans and your home’s ductwork also play a role in removing indoor air and circulating filtered outside air throughout your home.
  • Natural ventilation takes place when outside air enters your home through sources such as open doors and windows. Wind and the difference in temperatures between the indoors and outdoors create a current or wave that promotes infiltration and ventilation.

If your home has an attic, take special note of the role of ventilation here. Heat naturally rises to the highest areas of your home. Installing an exhaust fan in a gable or the roof can help draw hot air upward and out of your house while allowing cooler air to enter from windows.

You can also maximize the operating efficiency of your home’s HVAC system to promote ventilation. Using ceiling or window fans, for example, can go a long way to making your home feel more comfortable and create ventilation inside your living spaces. By making your home’s indoor air feel cooler, fans can allow you to raise the thermostat on your air conditioner by a few degrees. Similarly, when you use fans during the winter months to circulate heat throughout your home, you can lower the thermostat on your heating system. Fans are also essential for keeping home humidity levels in check, which can also improve your home’s ventilation levels.

Ways to Lower Indoor Air Pollutants in Your Home

One simple way to lower the concentrations of indoor air pollutants is to open windows to allow fresh air to enter into your home. You can create a cross-ventilation effect by opening adjacent and facing windows at the same time.

Keeping your home’s HVAC system operating in peak condition is another important way to promote good ventilation. At E. Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, we recommend scheduling regular HVAC system maintenance checks to ensure your system is working properly. During these maintenance checks, our specialists will look for problems that may signal potential operating issues for your system and make necessary repairs.

For answers to questions regarding your home’s indoor air quality and ventilation, turn to the trusted HVAC professionals of E. Smith Heating & Air Conditioning. Call us at 678-369-8866.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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