Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Why Your Home Could Be Too Airtight

For all their energy efficiency, homes can actually be too airtight. They lack the little leaks and cracks that allow fresh air to enter the house. Without replacement air, exhaust fans are unable to vent stale air. Starved for air, the house can even depressurize, which causes a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Home might be too airtight

It is important, therefore, to learn to recognize signs that your home is not getting enough air. Condensation on windows is a good indicator, as is persistent high humidity. Mold in corners and on pantry shelves is another warning sign, and residual smells from cooking and smoke carry a message to homeowners. Smoke coming into the room from a fireplace should worry you if other possible causes of it have been eliminated, from chimney pots of the wrong size to closed dampers.

Poor ventilation causes serious health problems, including headaches, breathing difficulties, irritated eyes, and dizziness. People who suffer from asthma experience increased and more severe episodes and, as always, the very young and the elderly are at heightened risk. If symptoms appear, open a window on each level of the house about an inch and leave them open for 24 hours. Continue to leave the upper window open, and if symptoms reappear, again open the downstairs window.

You may need to open windows more than an inch. It may even be necessary to have a device installed that will draw in outside air, heat it, and blow it around the house. This will counter the heat loss caused by open windows and will keep heating bills within reason relative to those incurred when the house was suffocating.

Home systems require adequate air to function properly. By way of example, a furnace mixes air with fuel as it combusts. That air comes from somewhere and has to be replaced. If none is available, the furnace will steal it from the flue pipe of the water heater, leaving it with insufficient air. That means the combustible exhaust inside the heater will backdraft into the house, and the by-products will cause a buildup of carbon monoxide. Whether termed too airtight or insufficiently vented, houses need to breathe.

By on January 28th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment