Sealing air leaks is one of the best ways to make your home more energy efficient, and there are ways to ensure it has an adequate amount of healthy, fresh air, free from pollutants.
The first strategy, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is to eliminate or reduce pollution sources, starting with carbon monoxide. Combustion furnaces should be professionally inspected and serviced. If you have any combustion appliances, install carbon monoxide detectors and replace the detectors every five to seven years.
Keep radon gas out of your home, because it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. If radon levels are too high, you’ll need to hire a professional to install a system to divert radon gas to the outside of your home. Kentuckians also can get help through the state at www.chfs.ky.gov; enter radon program in the search box.
Other pollutant reduction measures include not smoking tobacco indoors, running exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and storing paints and toxic cleaners outside. Finally, don’t idle a vehicle in an attached garage.
Cleaning and ventilating
Ventilation is a second strategy. Consider hiring an energy auditor to do a blower door test to determine leaks or the level to which your home breathes.
Many experts recommend sealing the home as tightly as possible and using mechanical ventilation to ensure a consistent and adequate supply of outside air. The most efficient option is a heat-recovery ventilator, which pulls in fresh air from outside and captures the heat from indoor air before it is exhausted to the outside.
Change air filters monthly, especially during heavy summer and winter use, and if you have pets or smoke. Keep the furnace supply and return air registers free of obstructions and keep doors open to any rooms without an air return.