You have to start thinking about your home's ventilation. There is a good chance you're over-ventilating, wasting money, and making your home uncomfortable. The alternative is that you're under-ventilating. Allowing chemicals, moisture, and carbon dioxide to build up in the home. Most are not life threatening, but can cause mold, mildew, or home sickness.
Most homes get fresh-air ventilation by accident. They have cracks, holes, and gaps around windows, doors, wall thresholds, foundation thresholds, and around any building mistake. If the house is under negative pressure, outside air is sucked into the home from bad places, including attics, crawl spaces, and wall cavities.
What causes differential air pressures in the home? A strong wind blowing against a house can cause pressure differentials. A poorly balanced HVAC system can also differential issues. Imagine cranking down the A/C on a sweltering Summer day and blowing a ton of cool air into a bedroom. If the bedroom is closed, and the return is in the hallway (as most are); that room will be pressurized, and air will leak from the bedroom to the outside through any and every hole.
The biggest causes of differential pressures is temperature differences between in and outdoors. The larger the temperature variance, the larger the differential pressure. When do we find the biggest temperature differences between homes and the outdoors? That’s simple, in the middle of Winter and Summer. Homes are of ‘course the leakiest when energy inefficiencies cost us the most. Heated and cooled air escapes through recesses and crevices, and is replaced by outdoor-air that we then must pay to heat and cool again. That's why utility-sponsored weatherization measures generally start with air-sealing work.
Call your local HVAC contractor to find out what weatherization processes can be completed to help. Ask about making your home super-tight. Once you’re home tight, ask about properly installing an efficient ventilation system to assure a steady mix of fresh/ clean air.
In older homes and in rental apartments, people rely on leaks to provide fresh air and get remediate damp air. If a home gets unbearably stale or moist, occupants are often motivated to open windows, which will provide ventilation in a hurry. These types of homes are normally older homes with a lot of real wood structures. These structures can deal with a decent amount of moisture before issues start to arise. If you don't care about mold, mildew, stale air, CO2 levels, or your carbon footprint…. Continue life as is. If you want to live in a happy healthy home, get on the phone and call your local HVAC, or weatherization company to resolve these issues.
Questions to ask these contractors:
Where's your fresh air coming from? (You don’t want to pull air from dirty places like attics, crawlspaces, and wall cavities)
How much ventilation is your home getting? (You need to know how many air changes per hour are happening in your home. Your local HVAC or weatherization company can tell you what the state recommends)
Will these changes make my home more comfortable? (You work hard. You deserve to be comfortable!)