Most of us don’t give airflow much thought, but it’s a physical phenomenon surrounding us every moment. Inside our homes, the movement of air, or lack thereof, drives its air quality and the costs for keeping it comfortable. Even though it’s largely intangible, air has some of the same physical qualities as water. Air moves just as easily as water does, but instead of being affected by gravity, it’s affected by pressure that’s always trying to equalize itself. Where positive pressure exists, it moves into a negative space and vice versa.
Why It Matters
A home’s energy efficiency depends on a few important factors. Insulation in the attic and walls makes a big difference, as does its degree of air infiltration. A leaky home will be hard to heat and cool because air is either moving in or out. You’ve probably experienced how a drafty room feels on a cold day. The draft probably came from a window, exterior door, or around the floor. Another way to encourage the movement of air from positive to negative is to close off a room in a home that has a forced-air HVAC system. Closing off the duct without stopping the return airflow will create a negative pressure gradient that will pull unconditioned outdoor air inside.
Air Infiltration and Quality
While homes with low air infiltration rates cost less to condition, they may have air quality issues. The U.S. EPA reports that the air quality in many homes is among the worst that people encounter. Pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products made from hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and radon, dust, pollen and dander. All homes need some fresh air ventilation. The most energy efficient way to introduce fresh air without driving up energy costs is with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that uses technology to capture the energy in the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air. If your home isn’t as comfortable as you’d like or your air quality is low, you may have airflow issues. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics,download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 918-217-8273.