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Sealing Air Leaks and Controlling Fresh Air in Homes Can Improve Health

Sealing up air leaks and adding mechanical ventilation to manage the source of fresh air in your home can lead to better health. Results from a 2004 study showed that people who moved into an energy efficient home with mechanical ventilation systems had significant decreases in throat irritation, cough, fatigue, and irritability symptoms. This study, along with others, influenced the creation of mandatory ventilation requirement for new homes. So what should you do if you have an older home?

Portrait of a family sitting inside the house and smiling.jpegThe study, “Health in Occupants of Energy Efficient New Homes,” compared occupants who moved into new homes built to standard codes with people who moved into similar new homes with the added feature of being more airtight and having an enhanced fresh-air ventilation system.

After one year of living in the new energy efficient homes, the occupants experienced fewer breathing problems. These results confirm the importance of controlling the source of fresh air in relation to air quality and its effect on occupant health.

The table below measures the health improvements of occupants living in the “case/test” group compared to the “control/conventional” group.

leech table.jpg

This study has exciting implications, according to the authors:  “New occupants of energy efficient homes with heat recovery ventilators report improvement over 1 year in the symptoms of throat irritation, cough, fatigue, and irritability in comparison with control new home occupants. If this pilot study is reproducible and shown to relate to indoor air quality, prospective new home buyers may be interested in obtaining this health information prior to decision making.”

ecobeco is an EPA Indoor Air Plus Partner for new home construction (download our e-book here).  If you’re in an older home, contact us.  We can air seal your home and add ventilation, filtration and humidity control features that can provide similar results to those experienced in this study.

Source: Leech JA, Raizenne M, Gusdorf J. Health in occupants of energy efficient new homes. Indoor Air. 2004; 169-173.

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