Outdoor air enters and leaves a house by infiltration, natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation like duct leakage. Some of these situations consist of:
Infiltration from outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors.
Natural ventilation allows air to move through opened windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by the wind.
Mechanical ventilation devices, from outdoor-vented fans that intermittently remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms and kitchen, to air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. A leading cause of dirty air in a home is found from duct leakage from your HVAC system.
The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air exchange rate. When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.
If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered “leaky.”
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When you're ready to learn more about our home ventilation systems in Southern Maryland, contact us at 410-469-1363. We offer home energy evaluation and energy efficient services to make your indoor air safer and more comfortable for you and your family.