Ventilating Your Home The Right Way

Improving Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency
September 01, 2020 | Helton Construction

Home buyers are dramatically increasing their knowledge of indoor air quality. Yes, viruses and other illness causing pollutants are the most discussed aspect of poor indoor air quality, but mold, mildew, VOCs, and cooking byproducts are also a large part of the conversation. A new study shows that two-thirds of respondents are growing worried about the air they breathe at home. Even if you wanted to, it would be impossible to ignore the conversation happening around indoor air quality.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is permeating every aspect of life and causing people to pay more attention to their indoor environments. Indoor air quality and the negative health effects that can arise from it aren’t going to be forgotten anytime soon. For most contractors in Fremont County, Colorado, it is an afterthought, but not for us here at Helton Construction. We have been creating healthy indoor air environments for 18 plus years using the latest technology and building techniques!

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a major component of a healthy home. People are spending more time indoors these days. Before the pandemic, people spent 90% of their time indoors. Imagine what the number is right now! With 42% of the labor force working from home now, people are cooking more, cleaning more, exercising more, and homeschooling more. That’s a lot of moisture, carbon dioxide, off gassing, cleaning fumes, and particles floating around in the air of your home. Making healthy home options a standard and increasing healthy home technology is what we do here at Helton Construction. We have posted several Facebook videos to see how we are just raising the standard here in Fremont county.

We at Helton Construction build a super energy efficient home, and we have become the standard for how a healthy home is a key component in Fremont County, Colorado.

Indoor Air Quality

There are many ways that home builders today have improved on the homes of the past: low VOC paints, formaldehyde-free flooring and cabinets, and low VOC woods are some of the most listed examples of home builders locally. However, ventilation and IAQ is sometimes overlooked as a critical component of the healthy home. When asking a home builder about ASHRAE 62.1 most of them will look at you with a blank look, because they have NO idea what the heck you are talking about. Wendell at Helton Construction has over 250 hours of education on building air tight thermal efficient building envelopes and mechanical systems to create a healthy indoor air environment.

Most home builders just install some bath fans and call it good. Did you know that the bath fan needs to run a minimum of 15 minutes after taking a shower? Do builders put a timer on the fan? NO! Did you know if you have an airtight building envelope that running a bath fan can create a negative pressure on the home? Without some source of makeup air this will suck air from every little nook and cranny within the home. My favorite fallacy to point out is that you will see is a window that opens in the shower (in which BTW is a terrible idea) for bathroom ventilation because it meets minimum code requirements. What about the rest of the home? All I can say is, "C'MON man!"

Did you know that the vast majority of home builders do NOT vent the range to the exterior? Why in the heck would you do that? A gas range produces carbon monoxide that is a deadly poisonous gas and stays in children's blood stream longer than adults. In addition, you have the smells and odors that come from cooking, and let's not forget the moisture that is spewed in the air of your home. We vent all cooking ranges to the exterior, electric or gas, no exception. There is a reason the code book mandated that home builders vent the dryer to the exterior. Many wouldn't do it if they weren't required, and the same goes for the range vent. For example, this is not required in Fremont County, Colorado, so many don't do it.

Helton Construction uses a HRV / ERV (heat / energy recovery ventilation) system to properly ventilate the entire home. It is a completely balanced system to suck polluted air from your home and replenish it with fresh exterior air. The system recovers some of that energy that you use to heat or cool the home as it brings the air the fresh air from the exterior. The system is quiet, has a high efficient fan, and filters the air so you are not getting bugs, dirt, pollen, and debris blown into your home. We install these in every home we build, no exceptions!

How about the crawl space? We mechanically vent the space beneath your home by building an airtight crawl space to alleviate the stack effect on your home. We DO NOT let it vent naturally by putting big holes on your crawl space and we also seal the vapor barrier on the ground cover to prevent radon gases escaping into your home. Do the other home builders do that? Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country behind smoking, and with less people smoking, it will be in first place soon.

So, if you are in the market to build your custom dream home in Fremont County, Colorado, Helton Construction is the custom home builder that has your best interest in mind to create the best indoor air quality in your home.

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