Modern homes are more tightly sealed than any homes in the history of man. Drafty homes, on the other hand, are yesterday’s children in the home building world. Airtight homes are considered models of efficiency while drafty homes allow energy dollar after energy dollar to escape every time the thermometer rises or dips.
There are many benefits involved in having airtight homes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any potential drawbacks to consider as well. So, what are the strengths and weaknesses of tight-sealed homes and what can you do, as a homeowner, to bridge the gap?
Benefits of Tight-Sealed Homes
Tight sealed homes are great when it comes to energy efficiency. They keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter with fewer dollars going to energy companies to do so.
Tight sealing also helps maintain a more stable temperature in the home for longer periods of time. Not only does this help save on energy costs, but it also helps occupants stay comfortable inside, regardless of what the thermometer is doing outside your home.
Tight-sealed homes also enjoy structural benefits that protect the home against many common signs of aging experienced in older homes and less frequent need for repairs.
Drawbacks of Airtight Houses
The downside of airtight buildings, though, is impossible to ignore. While the benefits are great, the construction method also leads to higher rates of air pollution indoors, reducing overall indoor air quality.The EPA has found that indoor air pollution from common VOCs (volatile organic compounds) is two to five times greater on the interiors of modern homes than on their exteriors in urban and rural areas alike.
VOCs are chemicals commonly found in paints, cleaning products, pesticides, building materials, and more. When homes are airtight, they have nowhere to go to escape so they linger in the air. It’s also worth mentioning that some levels are more intense in the hours, or possibly even days, immediately following exposure though some contamination will remains long afterwards.
Bridging the Gap
While most people agree that the idea of returning to draftier homes of the past is not an attractive solution, it’s also important to note that the potential health consequences of prolonged exposure to mold, mildew, VOCs, and other contaminates inside the air in your home is also not an ideal choice.
Proper ventilation is the key. Unfortunately, most homes today either don’t have adequate ventilation, use their ventilation improperly, or fail to use it at all. It’s not enough to simply use exhaust fans to remove air. You must be able to replace the air with fresh clean air.
Balanced ventilation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, requires bringing in good air while exhausting (or getting rid of) the bad air. The benefits of doing this go far beyond the breathability of the air inside your home and only add to the energy savings having an airtight home delivers. Whole house fans are the perfect tools for bringing in the right mix of good clean air into your home while getting rid of air that’s filled with pollutants like mold, VOCs, and more.
To learn more about ventilation for tightly sealed home, give us a call at 1.888.229.5757.