Indoor Air Quality

filter_mini.pngIt’s a common misconception that sealing air infiltration in a home will always lead to reduced indoor air quality. There are ventilation and air transfer techniques which can maintain high indoor air quality in high performance homes. Reading over some basic information on indoor air quality can be helpful in getting a clear overall picture.

hvacsystem.jpgThe primary cause of poor indoor air quality are indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air space inside a building. Also, inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels. Low “exchange rates” typically increase pollutant levels.

“Off-gassing” from building materials, carpeting, pressed wood products and furnishings are some additional contributors to indoor air pollution.

People may be concerned that “tightening” a house (through energy-efficient windows, weatherization, etc.) will inevitably lead to poor indoor air quality. This is a common misconception. Well-designed ventilation inside a well-sealed house can actually help control moisture and pollutants, save energy, and provide a comfortable indoor environment. If you are concerned, you should seek additional information and/or consider testing indoor air quality. “Tight” buildings can be very beneficial to owners and occupants when built properly and ventilated correctly.

Sealed-combustion furnaces and power-vented water heaters can reduce the likelihood of combustion gasses entering indoor air space.

Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.

One of the other things I hear from a lot of people is that they think that every home has dirty air ducts and that air ducts frequently need to be cleaned. While it doesn’t seem to hurt anything except your pocketbook, should you have your air ducts cleaned?

Knowledge about the potential benefits and possible problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial.

If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

Concerned about paint? Low-volatile organic compound (VOC) latex paints are advertised as the
“perfect choice” for application in occupied buildings.

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… AND, you can FOLLOW THE LINKS I have for you on the right side of this page to find some great information. Please see my video tour section, to see tours of Boulder real estate for sale, business profiles, neighborhood profiles, and new development profiles. I want you to find exactly what you want, and get all the info you need. Call or email me now to get straight answers, and start the process of finding the perfect solution to your real estate needs.
-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®

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