Q: I read as much as I can about indoor air pollution. How can I make sure my house has adequate ventilation?
A: I suggest that the volume of air in a home should be replaced every two or three hours to make sure that it stays fresh and clean. More specifically, this equals an air change rate of 0.33 to 0.5 when the house is not being ventilated.
If you don't think your house is getting enough air through it, you have some options to consider.
One is to force ventilation through the home by using an air-to-air heat exchanger. As air leaves the house, it pre-cools or preheats the incoming air.
Another idea is to try to reduce the use of possibly harmful materials in the house. Be careful of pesticides, cleaners and other chemicals you bring indoors. Don't smoke in the house. Pay attention to furniture, carpets and building materials that go indoors to be sure you eliminate potential health hazards.
Make sure that you don't tighten your house to the point that air flow is virtually eliminated. Stopping unwanted air flow by good building techniques, caulking, weatherstripping and other strategies is important, but talk to a contractor or builder about ways to make your house efficient while still allowing for adequate air changes through natural ventilation of the home.
Q: We like an idea we heard a while ago about putting the air handler in the home's conditioned space. We are building a new home in Mississippi, so we know we will be using a lot of air conditioning. Our builder tells us there is no room to do this in his plans. Do you have any ideas for us?
A: Don't give up on this idea. The cooling system's air handler often leaks air, so if you can find a place in the conditioned part of the home, you will minimize unwanted air flow into and out of the house. …