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Ventilation Tips | Everyone Needs Some Fresh Air

On average, we live about 87 percent of our lives indoors according to the EPA. And we spend an additional six percent of our lives in vehicles, which leaves only seven percent of our time for the great outdoors. Fresh air is hard to come by with most of us spending the majority of our time inside. Learn more about the importance of indoor ventilation from our industry experts below.

What are Ventilation Guidelines?

The industry’s current ventilation guidelines outline the parameters for the minimum ventilation rate required to maintain acceptable levels of bio-effluents (organic contaminants emitted from the human body).

In residential homes, terms such as air change rate or air changes per hour indicate how often inside air is replaced or re-circulated with outside air. Air change rates range from 0.4 to 1.5 air changes per hour depending on how tightly sealed the house is.

Facility managers use terms like cubic feet per minute (CFM) and liters per second (L/s) when managing commercial buildings. In these locations, minimum ventilation rates typically range from 5 to 25 CFM/person.

What Does This Really Mean?

Homes naturally have cracks and crevices that allow small amounts of outside air in. The simple solution is to open the windows in your home on a warm, sunny day. But for most of us, it’s either too hot or too cold to keep the windows open year-round. In these cases, use heat recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV) to enhance air circulation.

Windows are often sealed shut in commercial buildings. In these cases, contractors install dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) to increase the ventilation rates.

For homeowners, we also recommend installing a filtration system depending on where you live and your health concerns. Outside air is full of pollen, dust, moisture and other contaminants which ultimately decrease indoor air quality.

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