Breathe Easier, Enjoy Better Comfort and Overall Health with Tailor Designed, Expert Installed Whole Home Fresh Air Ventilation System.
Every home has poor indoor air ranging from mild to dangerous. Active fresh air ventilation systems such as Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) replace stale and contaminated indoor air with fresh air re-oxygenating the home. Both systems meet building and mechanical codes with state-of-the art technology. An alternative technology to active systems is passive ventilators providing continuous fresh air and oxygen into the home. These systems are maintenance free, operate 24 hours a day, ensuring efficient combustion for fuel burning appliances and a healthy environment for occupants.
Home Performance Group is an established designer and installer of fresh air ventilation systems for homes and businesses. We offer both active and passive mechanical ventilation systems that are designed, built, and installed for each unique situation.
- Heat recovery technology allows outgoing stale air to temper fresh incoming air without cross contamination
- Delivers whole-home balanced ventilation, particularly for homes with fireplaces
- Replaces stale air and polluted indoor air with fresh outdoor air minimizing negative pressure in your home
- Eliminate excess humidity during the cold seasons
- Year-round energy recovery with the benefit of fresh air and energy savings
- Improves indoor air quality and helps reduce symptoms associated with “sick building syndrome” (see below) and respiratory problems.
Duct and Ventilation Learning
The three “B’s” of ventilation refers to the activities that consume oxygen from indoor air.
- Breathing – refers to people and pets which consume oxygen while breathing out carbon dioxide and moisture. Without a resupply of fresh air, the indoor air quality will quickly deteriorate.
- Burning – refers to all the fuel burning appliances such as gas furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves, cook stoves, ovens, and indoor barbecues, All of these appliances burn oxygen from the indoor air reducing the amount available for breathing. A supply of fresh oxygen rich air is essential to the efficient operation of these appliances and occupant health.
- Blowing – refers to all of the appliances that exhaust air out of the home. These are bathroom fans, central vacuums, range hoods, window fans, and of course clothes dryers. Some of these fans are strong enough to reverse the flow in a chimney. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel inefficiently. It is neither seen nor smelled but is highly toxic and is deadly even in small amounts.
A tight home will not have a constant supply of replacement oxygen to support efficient combustion of fuel burning appliances which can be especially troublesome for homes with fireplaces. The two biggest complaints people have with fireplaces is indoor condensation and mold, particularly on windows and window sills, and nasty black creosote that collects on the walls and ceilings. With a structurally sound and properly operating chimney, a fresh air ventilation system can usually correct both of these complaints.
Sick Building Syndrome
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (www.cdc.gov/niosh) prefers the term “Indoor Air Quality.” If 20% of occupants have the following symptoms – including watering eyes; hoarseness; headaches; dry, itchy skin; dizziness; nausea; heart palpitations; miscarriages; shortness of breath; nosebleeds; chronic fatigue; mental fogginess; tremors; swelling of legs or ankles; and cancer – the building may be considered to have an indoor air quality problem or labeled a “sick building.” The telling factor is if symptoms ease when people are away from the home or building. The Consumer Federation of America cities that indoor air pollution is responsible for up to 50% of all illness with an estimated cost in medical bills of over $100 billion annually, while the American Medical Association has stated that with the reduction of fresh air entering a home, increased levels of Radon gas and other known carcinogens have been detected.
There are many causes attributable to sick building syndrome. Beginning in the 1970s during the oil embargo, there was a movement amongst builders and regulatory authorities to tighten building envelopes and construction improving building energy efficiency which would save on fuels for heating and air conditioning. Many buildings became virtually air-tight with little outdoor air entering these new buildings. The ventilation was reduced to 5 cfm/person. This reduced ventilation rate was found to be inadequate to maintain the health and comfort of building occupants. Malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC systems) also increase the indoor air pollution. In order to have an acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) with a minimum energy consumption, The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently revised ventilation standards to a minimum outdoor air flow rate of 15 cfm/person to avoid the problems related to inadequate ventilation.
According to ASHRAE, some polluting factors include indoor combustion caused by fuel burning appliances (gas furnaces, water-heaters, ranges, and flue gases from fireplaces) and buildup of carbon monoxide and inhalable particles; environmental tobacco smoke; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, styrene, and other solvents; and airborne biological contaminants, allergens and pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, spores, and protozoans. Added to that are new building materials (plywood, carpet glue) and fabrics (rugs, furniture) that “off-gas” toxic fumes.
Sick Building Syndrome Prevention
- Increase the ventilation rates and air distribution with fresh air ventilation systems and properly design and installed ductwork systems. The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems should be designed to meet ventilation standards in the international building and mechanical codes. The HVAC system should be operated and maintained properly to ensure that the desired ventilation rates are attained. If there are strong pollutants, the air may need to be directly vented to the outside. This method is especially recommended to remove pollutants that accumulate in specific areas such as kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Removal or modification of the pollutant source can be carried out by a routine maintenance of HVAC systems, replacing water-stained ceiling tiles and carpets, using stone, ceramic or hardwood flooring, proper water proofing, avoiding synthetic or treated upholstery fabrics, minimizing the use of electronic items and unplugging idle devices, venting contaminants to the outside, storing paints, solvents, pesticides and adhesives in close containers in well-ventilated areas and using these pollutant sources in periods of low or no occupancy. Allowing time for building material in new areas to off-gas pollutants before occupancy and smoking restrictions are some measures that can be used.
- Air cleaning can be a useful addition to control air pollution. Air cleaning can be performed by ensuring, use of frosted glass and skylights that give access to natural light, and indoor plants that absorb carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air. Air filters are also effective in removing some if not all of the pollutants.
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Since inception HPG has designed, engineered, installed, and maintained high-performance geothermal heating and cooling systems, radiant heated floors, custom ultra-high-end epoxy floor systems, solar arrays, and spray foam insulation for low energy or net-zero homes and buildings. While HPG specializes in outfitting residential homes, we also service commercial buildings. Contact us today to help increase your comfort, reduce your utilities, or lower your environmental footprint.