For centuries, fresh air has been valued for its curative properties. Doctors have long prescribed trips away from heavily populated, highly polluted cities as a treatment for a wide variety of illnesses. This allowed patients to breathe clean air and recuperate. Moving old air out and replacing it with fresh air is the main idea behind ventilation, a part of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. What was once accomplished by opening windows and allowing the air to naturally move through a home has been replaced by the operations of an HVAC system. The constant motion of air through a properly functioning HVAC system can provide much more efficient ventilation for a modern home. So how important is air ventilation for a healthy home? Read on to see how it is a key element of air comfort, playing a large part in air health.
Researchers have been studying the history of pandemics, or illnesses that affect people internationally, trying to detect patterns and behaviors to help in future situations. Richard A. Hobday, PhD and John W. Cason, Phd wrote on this in the paper, “The Open-Air Treatment of PANDEMIC Influenza”. In this paper, they considered several points in history where large swaths of people faced an infectious disease. They studied multiple influenza pandemics, as well as when tuberculosis and other diseases ravaged communities.
In addition, Hobday and Cason looked at instances where doctors and hospitals provided clean, fresh air as a specific method of treating the infected and attempting to reduce the chances that the illness would spread. The research concludes that fresh air, along with proper sanitization procedures and the use of face masks, can help lead to better outcomes for patients dealing with illnesses like influenza or pneumonia. So how can we bring these lessons into home HVAC systems?
Bringing Fresh Air In
Your home has several options to help bring fresh air in and cycle old air out. Spot-ventilation by using exhaust fans is one way to create air ventilation for a healthy home. Exhaust fans are commonly installed in bathrooms or over stovetops to remove odor, humidity, and stale air. As an exhaust fan removes air from a home, it naturally pulls air in through open doors, windows, or the gaps that exist in every building. You can also install powerful exhaust fans that lead to an attic space, capable of moving large quantities of air through a house all at once. Please note that this method of pulling outside air in has its own possible disadvantages. The air drawn into the house may be less desirable than the existing air.
Another option is an energy-recovery ventilator, or ERV. An ERV transfers heat and humidity out of a home, making it ideal for humid areas like the Tennessee valley. Where an exhaust fan simply moves air without offering any conditioning aspects, an ERV can also filter incoming air and provide humidity control. Consult with your local, licensed HVAC service provider to see if an ERV would work for your household.
Open the Windows
You can also simply open the windows of your home to help move fresh air into spaces that need it. However, this isn’t always available if you are trying to keep a home cool in the summer or hot in the winter. Opening a window can also invite allergens and outdoor particulates to enter your home, which can be more irritating than the stale air already in the house. Open windows can be a good short-term solution when you are in need of immediate fresh air but can also negatively change the interior humidity and temperature of a home.
Cleaning the Existing Air
There are many different types of air purifiers available to incorporate into the duct system of a house. These work as part of the HVAC system to make sure any air passing into a house is cleaner than it entered. They also help remove things like mold, mildew, dust, allergens, and even viruses and bacteria.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to selecting an air purifier for air ventilation for a healthy home. Cold plasma generators can “scrub” the air that passes through them, providing high-quality, clean air for your home. Also, whole-home air purifiers that use electrostatic and material filters trap unwanted particles as air passes into your home. This keeps them from ever entering your living spaces. HVAC system brands are constantly improving on the technology of providing cleaner, fresher air. There are a wide variety of options now available on the market. The modern home is spoiled for choice. It used to be that the only reliable air transfer was an open window and a hope for a breezy day! And don’t forget- regularly replacing the air filters in your HVAC system keeps your home’s air fresh.
Enjoy that Fresh Air
While fresh air is not a cure-all for illness, it has long been paired with proper medical treatment. The introduction of fresh air into a home can be an overlooked aspect of air health and comfort. However, investing in proper ventilation methods make a big difference in how a home feels. Rather than trying to open and shut windows as necessary, consult with your HVAC service provider and seek true solutions to your fresh air requirements. Investing in systems that properly draw fresh air into your home keep it healthier and more comfortable. In addition, air purifiers that work in concert with the rest of your HVAC system can keep you breathing easy all year round.