With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to not just focus on energy performance but keep indoor air quality (IAQ) in mind when building a new home.
While the tightening of building envelops has provided beneficial energy performance improvements, left unaccounted for, airtight and well-insulated building construction restricts air infiltration from the outside, which allows pollutants and moisture levels to accumulate in the home. This accumulation of moisture, especially in the gulf coast, can contribute to mold growth throughout attics and conditioned spaces.
Not only does controlling moisture improve the air hygiene in homes, the US Department of Energy notes that controlling moisture can make your home more energy-efficient, less costly to heat and cool, and more comfortable.
Ventilation provides multiple benefits starting with the dilution of VOCs from the off gassing of new materials. The optional ventilation supplies fresh air and purges stale, polluted air is crucial to ensuring a safe living environment.
Ventilation allows improved control and treatment of the air that enters the house. By slightly pressurizing the house, these systems minimize outdoor pollutants in the living space and reduce the potential for backdrafting of combustion gases from fireplaces and appliances.
Adding a whole home dehumidifier is the best way to reduce overall humidity in your home and reduce the risk of mold. In fact, several organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, recommend installing a dehumidifier to help maintain humidity levels at 50% or less in your home. Ultra Aire by Santa Fe offers a full line of whole home dehumidifiers, including large capacity, with flexible installation configurations to maintain proper moisture levels.
Dehumidifier filters remove a range of particles and different filters have different ratings for this purpose. This is referred to as the MERV rating which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is a scale from 1 to 16 with filters rated as MERV 1 capturing the least number of particles and MERV 13 filters capturing close to all the particles in the air.
Choosing a filter with the correct MERV rating can have a dramatic impact on reducing the number of viral particles in the air, and therefore the chances of spreading airborne infectious diseases within your home.