ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES . . . and protect your home from polluted air. We can all play a part in good indoor air quality when it comes to our homes. Simple solutions to a potentially HUGE problem. Here is our Top 10:

1. Vent bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms directly outdoors using quiet, energy efficient fans.

2. Avoid locating furnaces, air conditioners and ductwork in garages or other spaces where they can inadvertently draw contaminants into the house. Install a door closer to ensure doors between houses and garages do not accidentally stay open. If ducts must pass through a garage or other potentially polluted space, seal them well, with proper duct mastic, to avoid entrainment of polluted air.

3. Properly vent fireplaces, wood stoves and other hearth products; use tight door gaskets and outdoor air intakes when possible.

4. Vent clothes dryers and central vacuum cleaners directly outdoors, not into a crawlspace, basement or attic.

5. Store toxic or volatile compounds such as paints, solvents, cleaners and pesticides out of occupied spaces. Especially attached garages.

6. Minimize or avoid unvented combustion sources such as candles, cigarettes, indoor barbecues or vent-free heaters.

7. Provide operable windows or additional mechanical ventilation to all occupied spaces to accommodate occasional sources or high-polluting events, such as the use of home cleaning products, hobby activities, etc.

8. Use sealed-combustion, power-vented or condensing water heaters and furnaces. When natural-draft appliances must be used, they should be tested for proper venting and should be located outside the occupied spaces when possible.

9. Use appropriate filters in your air-handling system to keep dirt out of the air and off your ductwork and heating and cooling components. Maintain it or replace it regularly as required.

  • Generally, air handlers are able to withstand the use of a MERV 8 filter. A filter of this magnitude is designed to trap larger particles such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, hair spray and dust.
  • In most instances filters rated higher than MERV 11 should not be used, unless the air-handler manufacturer specifically states otherwise. MERV 11 filters trap the same contaminants as the MERV 8, but also trap pet dander and auto emissions.
  • The higher the MERV rating, the more frequent the filter may need changed.
  • An increase in MERV rating may decrease air-handler efficiency; therefore it is ideal to find a good balance point between filter capabilities and energy efficiency.

10. Distribute a minimum level of outdoor air throughout the home, using whole-house mechanical ventilation.

We have aimed to make you are more knowledgeable and confident in indoor air quality. If you have questions or would like further information, please let us know. ([email protected])

Courtesy of: ASHRAE Standard 62.2, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and 2001 ASHRAE Handbook—Fundamentals, Chapter 26, Ventilation and Infiltration.


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