November 26, 2019
Fall is America’s favorite season — and for good reason. The drop in temperatures make for layering up your fashion, switching from an iced coffee to a hot latte, and maybe being a little less frugal with keeping your doors and windows open to the fresh air. But have you noticed, you tend to start feeling more allergy-like symptoms and health effects once the leaves start to turn, even in your own home?
Taking consideration of your indoor air quality (IAQ) during these fall days can reduce the sniffles that come with the changing of the seasons. Here’s what you should know about maintaining your IAQ throughout the fall months here in the Contra Costa, Marin, and Alameda County climate.
Falling Leaves and Wildfires
“The falling leaves pass by my window” — and upon them are mold spores that are finding their way into my home.
The leaves and needles of fall are beautiful, but they are also a hazard for those with mold sensitivities, as the moisture and dead organic material accelerate mold growth. This means high levels of mold spores that can find their way into your autumn indoor air.
The same goes for wildfires, as the smoke (even from miles and miles away) brings that harmful particulate matter into your home. Once these particles enter your home, they are sucked into the vents of your central heating and cooling system. Unless they are caught by your air filter, these particles are recirculated over and over throughout your home. This means the same particles could be going in and out of your lungs, over and over again!
An Air Sealed Home
Keeping your doors and windows closed is the first step to reducing the allergens and dangerous particles from entering your home in the first place. But what about the invisible holes and cracks in your home that are letting air in? Creating a tight building envelope requires locating the air leaks in your home (usually in the attic and ceiling) that are contributing to your indoor pollution.
Plus, air sealing your home will benefit many other aspects of your home, such as:
Reducing energy loss & decreasing utility bills
Keeping your home more comfortable
Less wear and tear on your furnace & air conditioner
Don’t Hesitate to Ventilate
Once your home is properly sealed (we call this a tight air barrier or building envelope) it is essential that your home is properly ventilated. Now you may be thinking, “We just spent all this time worrying about keeping air inside my home. Now we are trying to send air outside?”
At Hassler, we like to control airflow and infiltration first, so that we can maximize the effectiveness of ventilation and air purification. We install a couple of different ventilation systems in homes here in the East Bay area, such as:
Yes, your furnace and air conditioning system should have air filters that remove particles from your breathing air. Unfortunately, most air filters can only remove some of the larger particles from the air. For homes that are particularly prone to wildfire smoke and poor indoor air quality, supplementing your HVAC system with an IQAir purifier is a good idea.
Home Recovery Ventilators
A home recovery ventilator, also known as an HRV, will provide your home with freshly filtered outdoor air, while reducing the heating and cooling load of your furnace and air conditioner. HRVs take your stale and humid indoor air and send it back outside, while pre-heating and filtering outdoor air and sending it to your furnace intake. With this pre-heated fresh air, your furnace does not have to work as hard to warm up your living space.
An HRV will keep your home comfortable and energy efficient, and your air nice and clean all the way through the fall and winter!
Get the Best Autumn Indoor Air Quality in California!
When it comes to your health, and the health of your family members, you deserve the best. Consider your indoor air this fall, so you can breathe easier, sleep better, and relax comfortably in your own home.