Until very recently, homes were built to breathe. Insulation was seldom used, windows were single-pane and drafts were just part of life. Home heating systems had no problem finding oxygen for combustion, attics were naturally ventilated and fresh outdoor air always found its way in somehow.
Listen to ON MECHANICAL VENTILATION, or read the text below:
Today, in the age of double-paned windows, whole-house insulation and vapor barriers, we're also seeing moisture problems that lead to mold problems and poor indoor air quality. It only makes sense that if you seal the house and don't circulate the air, the humidity and gases that once flowed freely in and out are now trapped inside. And they wreak havoc on the home's structure, not to mention its inhabitants.
Consult your HVAC contractor to see if your home needs mechanical ventilation.
A “fan in the can,” as they're called, pulls in outdoor combustion air for your furnace so you don't depressurize your house. A heat recovery ventilator, or hrv, brings in preconditioned fresh air, so you're not decreasing your efficiency.
Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.
For more on HVAC systems, consider:
New Airconditioning for Old Houses
Choosing an HVAC System
What You Might Not Know about HVAC Filters