Ask the energy advisor

Let it breathe

Posted on Jun 24 2019 in LaGrange County REMC
Energy Advisor

Sounds like the mistaken title to a Beatles song. But we’re not talking about the Beatles, we are talking about the misconception that a house has to breathe to be healthy.

I have had a multitude of conversations with homeowners and builders who believe a home needs to allow (unconditioned) outside air to flow freely through their home to keep it healthy. But this only adds cost to heating and cooling. 

My immediate response is, “OK, then let me get a 6-inch hole saw, and you tell me when to stop boring holes in the side of your house.”

The misunderstanding comes from the idea that by sealing the house, you are preventing fresh air from exchanging in the home. While that is true, you are also protecting the money you just spent to condition the air in your home. Why would you want to heat or cool your interior and then waste it to the outside? The answer is, you wouldn’t. 

Rather than allowing the home to dictate air changes, the homeowner should be in control of the air change rate. The home will have a certain level of air change due to entering or exiting the home. The more family members, the more doors open and close, the more air changes. 

Fresh air can also be achieved by installing fresh air intakes on the HVAC unit or heat recovery ventilators to bring in fresh air and reduce heat loss.

Keep in mind, the tighter the house is, the more you’ll have to control humidity.

If you would like to know more about the correct approach to air sealing, fresh air requirements and humidity control, then give me a call.Jake Taylor is the energy advisor at LaGrange County REMC.