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Indoor
Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a critically important part of HVAC. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked.  Through poor system design or simple neglect, many homes end up chronically over-humidified, blowing around dust and allergens and suffering from stale indoor air.

 

Why Get One?

Many homes are built very tightly. Spray foam insulation, exterior Tyvek wraps, even sealed electrical wiring behind the drywall mean little air gets in from outside. Negligible infiltration keeps your heating and cooling bills low, but an ultra-tight home exacerbates other problems… like too much humidity. Tight homes also trap pollutants inside the home making the air seem stale and unhealthy. 

ATC designs solutions to address excess humidity and indoor pollutants keeping your home’s air feeling fresh and clean. Solutions can include:

Energy Recovery Ventilator: ERVs exchange the inside air with outside air. As opposed to simply cutting a hole in the side of your house, an ERV recaptures a good part of the heat and humidity energy as it brings in fresh air. In the middle of the ERV, there is a membrane that transfers the heat and humidity in inside (and outgoing) air to the outside (and incoming air). Honeywell, Broan Nu-Tone, and Aprilaire all make good ERVs.

The Federal Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit includes a 30% UNLIMITED tax credit for geothermal systems! With this credit in place, many geothermal installations cost no more than high end air sourced heat pumps!

ATC can solve each of these problems, though doing so often starts with overall system design. Appropriately sized heat pumps of furnaces with a well-designed duct system go a long way to providing the backbone for true indoor air quality. We also often employ the following:

Energy Recovery Ventilator: ERVs exchange the inside air with outside air. As opposed to simply cutting a hole in the side of your house, an ERV recaptures a good part of the heat and humidity energy as it brings in fresh air. In the middle of the ERV, there is a membrane that transfers the heat and humidity in inside (and outgoing) air to the outside (and incoming air).  Honeywell, Broan Nu-Tone, and Aprilaire all make good ERVs.

Dehumidification: A whole-house dehumidifier can keep excess humidity from damaging your home. Small, portable units on wheels just don’t have the capacity to dehumidify an entire house – plus emptying the reservoir requires constant attention.  A whole house unit can be much more efficient too.

Humidification: A whole house humidifier can keep dry winter air from irritating occupants.  We offer bypass units and steam humidifiers.

Instead, at ATC we recommend 4” pleated filters from Aprilaire, Carrier, Trane, or Honeywell. These filters have MERV ratings of 11 – 13 and do a great job of removing allergens and other pollutants from the indoor air. Another advantage is longevity.  The deep pleating allows them to last 6-months or more between changes.

Filtration: Whole house filtration can remove allergens and other indoor pollutants from your home. For most homes, ATC recommends 4” pleated filters for their ability to last a full 6-months and do a nice job removing pollutants. In most cases, it is a simple job to retrofit a conventional 1” filter system to accept a 4” filter. 

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