Short #43 – Is IAQ a Joke? (Podcast)
In this short podcast episode, we address the myth that IAQ is a joke. We also discuss how to think about IAQ correctly in HVAC work.
Indoor air quality is NOT a joke. However, it has a bit of a bad reputation in our field due to the overuse of accessories and bells-and-whistles to solve whole-home air quality issues. (Oxidizers, UV lights, etc. can help IAQ issues, but they are not a fix-all.)
We don't want completely sterile air, just as we like to have a beneficial microbiome inside our own digestive systems. However, there are also a bunch of things suspended in our air that are really bad for us. Some of those bad things include VOCs, carbon monoxide, and radon. Many of the products we bring into our home, including furniture assembled in underregulated factories overseas, end up off-gassing harmful substances into our air. VOCs have a distinct chemical smell, and proper ventilation helps solve the problem.
Media filters are an everyday object that we use to help control IAQ. Using higher-MERV filters help keep the air free of particulates, but you must size them correctly to prevent excessive pressure drop and poor airflow.
To control moisture problems, we want to make sure we seal buildings as tightly as possible. We also want to make sure we use designed pathways and effective ventilation strategies. Kitchen and bath exhaust fans should be functional. When we think about bringing in outdoor air, we want that process to be controlled, and we want to make sure we're bringing in high-quality outdoor air.
Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both undesirable in terms of IAQ, but carbon monoxide is potentially deadly. We want to make sure we vent those gases, especially CO.
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