Category: indoor air quality

Suffering from Allergies? Did you know…

Do you or someone you love suffer from asthma or asthma-related attacks?

It’s estimated that 26 million Americans are affected by asthma or asthma-related conditions. It’s proven that these attacks have a direct link to air quality — and air sealing your home can help.

In the lungs of asthma sufferers, swollen airways become extra sensitive when the individual is exposed to asthma triggers such as pollen, smoke, pet dander, dust, mold, chemicals in the air and more. To make things worse, an American Lung Association study indicated too many people in the United States live in areas where the air is unhealthy for them to breathe.

Sealing a home’s air leaks can help improve indoor air quality by lowering the number of asthma triggers that can enter the inside of a home or building.

Spray foam insulation is a great option to both insulate and seal air leaks in one step. In fact, one of the key benefits of spray foam is improved indoor air quality. The material provides an exceptional air seal, works as a thermal barrier (insulator) and helps control moisture issues. This improved air-tightness provides better control of indoor humidity, which reduces mold inside the home. It also dramatically reduces the number of pollutants that can enter the home (pollen, dust, etc.) and allows a home to have proper mechanical ventilation to filter the air and keep the interior air clean.

By reducing these asthma triggers, anyone affected by asthma or other breathing issues will benefit.

Interested in learning more about air sealing and the benefits to you and your family? Contact us for a quote today.

Building Science Basics

Traditionally, insulation has been used to create a thermal barrier around a building. Very little was known about building science and the way a building consumed energy.

There is a lot to know about building science. There are key components that, when understood, make saving energy and increasing building comfort much easier.

Much of building science focuses on airflow. Improper airflow can affect on the health and safety of the building residents. It can also cause mold growth, spread pollutants and more. Controlling airflow increases the efficiency of a building, reduces stress on HVAC systems and controls indoor air quality.

There are a few key conditions that affect airflow (courtesy ENERGYSTAR.gov):

  • Controlled versus uncontrolled airflow
    • Controlled airflow is generated by mechanical devices. The purpose of controlled/mechanical airflow is to ventilate a building or distribute conditioned air evenly throughout a building. Sources of controlled airflow are ventilation systems, fans and HVAC systems.
    • Uncontrolled airflow is airflow is the result of unplanned gaps, an aging building and other structural issues. Uncontrolled airflow works against the “energy plan” of the building, and causes the HVAC system and other mechanicals to work harder to maintain the indoor environment.
  • Air pressure from wind, heat, fans and duct systems.
    • Pressure differences in a building are caused by one of three things:
      • Wind blowing against a building, causing pressure differences between one side of the building and the other.
      • Heat affects air pressure. Heat naturally rises in a building (called stack pressure or stack effect). The amount of pressure depends on the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the building, as well as the height of the building.
      • Fans (particularly exhaust fans and HVAC air handlers) can contribute to pressures changes. This could be through leakage in the building envelope or the ducting or an imbalance in the supply and return ducts.
      • Duct leaks. When ducts leak to the outside of a building, air infiltration rates can increase by as much as 300%.
  • Holes and pathways
    • Uncontrolled airflow into a building resulting from penetration points in the building envelope. Reducing the number of holes in the building reduces the amount of uncontrolled airflow.

These are all important things to consider when improving energy efficiency of an existing home or commercial space, or during the building process. We recommend speaking with a member of our team to discuss your project and how building science should be considered. Click here to contact our office to speak with one of our energy professionals.