Indoor Air Quality

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has generated the following list of the top ten things that homeowners can do to provide good indoor air quality:

1. Fossil-fuel-fired water heaters and furnaces should use sealed-combustion or be power-vented. When natural-draft appliances must be used, they should be tested for proper venting and should be located outside the occupiable space when possible.

2. Vent bathrooms, kitchens, toilets, and laundry rooms directly outdoors. Use energy efficient and quiet fans.

3. Avoid locating leaky furnaces, air conditioners and ductwork in garages or other spaces where they can inadvertently draw contaminants into the house. Install a door closer to ensure doors between houses and garages do not accidentally stay open. Apply weather-stripping to the doors to reduce airborne contaminant transport around the door edges. If ducts must pass through a garage or other potentially polluted space, seal the ducts well to avoid entrainment of polluted air.

4. Properly vent fireplaces, wood stoves, and other hearth products; use tight doors and outdoor air intakes for these products when possible.

5. Put a good particle filter or air cleaner in your air handling system to keep dirt out of the air and off of your ductwork and heating and cooling components. Maintain it or replace it regularly as needed.

6. Vent clothes dryers and central vacuum cleaners directly outdoors.

7. Store volatile compounds such as paints, solvents, cleaners, and pesticides out of the occupiable space and away from ventilation air intakes.

8. Minimize or avoid altogether unvented combustion sources such as candles, cigarettes, indoor barbecues, decorative combustion appliances or vent-free heaters.

9. Distribute a minimum amount of outdoor air as recommended by ASHRAE 62.2 throughout the home, using whole-house mechanical ventilation.

10. Provide operable windows or additional mechanical ventilation to every space to accommodate unusual sources or high-polluting events, such as the use of home cleaning products, and hobby activities.