Increase Home Health with a Whole Home Approach
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. That means the majority of your friends and family are relying on their workspaces and their homes to be full of high indoor air quality.
However, the EPA also estimates that the amount of pollutants present in indoor air is two to five times higher than the air outside. Let’s take a look at the many systems in your home that contribute to your overall health, and how approaching your home upgrades from a “whole home” perspective can increase your indoor air quality.
Symptoms & Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can be identified by a number of symptoms, especially for those already suffering from respiratory sensitivities, including:
- Eye irritation
- Chronic postnasal drip
- Throat irritation & cough
So, what’s causing these symptoms inside your home? The presence of indoor air pollutants, such as:
- Biological pollutants (pet dander, mold, and pollen)
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Secondhand smoke
- Stoves, heaters, fireplaces, and chimneys
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
The Importance of Whole Home Solutions
It is common for homeowners to assume there may be a single solution to poor indoor air quality and improving your overall home health. However, each of the systems within your home is interconnected, and small changes in one area of your home will have an effect on others. This is the reasoning behind the importance of a more holistic approach to living in a healthy home.
Take the air leakage in your home, for example. If your home is riddled with leaks, sealing them may reduce outside air and contaminants from infiltrating, but it will also increase the heating and cooling load for your HVAC systems. Plus, any changes in your furnace or air conditioner can affect the ventilation of your home and may require additional air purification to prevent existing contaminants from re-circulating your ductwork (and your lungs).
Whole-Home PACE Projects for Improved Indoor Air Quality
Here are some of the different eligible PACE financing home improvement upgrades that can be combined for a whole home solution, making for an energy-efficient healthy home, and healthy family.
The “bigger is better” mentality should be left to the size of your solar array, not your home heating and cooling equipment. Properly sizing your furnace and air conditioner will help save money on your energy over time, and it will also save you a headache or two.
When your heating and cooling equipment is too large, it turns on and off too frequently, wasting fuel and causing premature failure in the starting mechanisms. On the other hand, equipment that is too small will stay on endlessly, causing unnecessary wear and tear without quite producing enough conditioned air to keep your home comfortable.
Insulation & Air Sealing
Air sealing is the process of closing up any air leaks, gaps, and cracks in the construction of your home. This reduces the contaminants and unconditioned air that can freely enter your living space, lowering both your air quality and the effectiveness of your home’s heating and cooling equipment.
Insulation’s role in your home comfort is to prevent any heat transfer through the walls, attic, and crawlspace of your home. This can have a considerable effect on how hard your heating and cooling equipment has to work to keep your home at the temperature you set on your thermostat. Both insulation and air sealing are an integral part of crawlspace encapsulation as well, which will reduce the unwanted temperatures and polluted air that infiltrates your crawlspace.
Once your home has been properly sealed and insulated, additional ventilation may be required to prevent contaminants from recirculating in the air you breathe. One way to increase the quality of your indoor air while reducing the energy needed to run your heating and cooling system is with an Energy Recovery Ventilator, also known as an ERV, or a Heat Recovery Ventilator, or HRV. Both an HRV and ERV supply air to the home and exhaust stale air, making a positive impact on air quality and air exchange.
BONUS: How Solar Energy Can Increase Air Quality
If solar energy has been on your mind as you consider home improvement upgrades, there is good news. Solar can help increase overall air quality, too! By reducing their reliance on energy sources that require fossil fuels, like coal, homeowners who install solar panels are helping reduce the medical bills and lost wages associated with the health effects of air pollution.
Utilize PACE for Your Whole Home Solution
Many homeowners who suspect their house is making them sick attempt to tackle their indoor air quality problems one at a time. That doesn’t have to be the case! With the flexibility of PACE financing, you can implement a whole-home solution with a trusted home performance contractor with 100% upfront financing and no required down payment. Through PACE financing, homeowners can upgrade their HVAC, insulation and air sealing, install an ERV or HRV, and install solar all at once.
Compared to other home financing options, PACE makes it simple and easy through:
- 100% project financing up to $250,000
- No upfront costs
- Competitive and fixed, low-interest rates
- Interest rates based on repayment terms and not personal credit