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Fresh Air in Home

­1. What contributes to healthy indoor environments?

Healthy indoor environments have a comfortable temperature and humidity, an adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and passive control of indoor air pollutants.

The video “Wellness Value Explained” helps to build a better understanding of the air quality in your home. 

2. How does unhealthy indoor air affect occupants?

Exposure to unhealthy indoor air can induce symptoms that resemble having allergies, respiratory diseases like Asthma, heart problems, and lung cancer. The American Heart Association has linked unhealthy indoor air to heart problems, while the American Lung Association lists it as a leading cause of lung cancer.

Read more about the causes of unhealthy indoor air and for additional information, check out our video “Breathing Fresh Air in Your Home”.

3. What causes indoor air to become unhealthy?

Unhealthy indoor air develops from indoor air pollutants, and lack of ventilation. Indoor air pollutants include chemical products such as cleaning supplies, glues, pastes, personal care products, and other synthetic products. Other sources include building materials, combustion sources, and outdoor sources. Pet dander, dust mites, mold, and viruses can also contribute to unhealthy indoor air.

4. Which indoor air pollutants should we be concerned about for occupant health?

For occupant health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mentions thirteen types of harmful indoor air pollutants. The list includes asbestos, biological pollutants, carbon monoxide, cookstoves, formaldehyde/pressed wood products, lead, nitrogen dioxide, pesticides, radon, indoor particulate matter, secondhand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and wood smoke.

5. How do we keep indoor air pollutants at a healthy level in our home or in our office?

To keep indoor air pollutants at a safe level, we suggest three options:

  1. Consider introducing more fresh air into your home

  2. Monitor your air through air quality sensors

  3. Clean your HVAC and Fresh Air Appliance's filters every 3 months & replace them on a fixed schedule

Read more about this on Our Solutions page and for additional information check out how our fresh air appliance and our ECO-Touch IAQ multi-function controller work together to expel indoor air pollutants in the video “Indoor Air Quality Optimized”.

6. How can I prevent chemicals and toxins from entering livable or office spaces from workshops, parking garages, etc.?

To prevent migration of airborne contaminants from entering adjacent spaces, Fantech suggests controlling the respective pressures of the air in those spaces. In other words, you can contain the contaminated air by keeping air pressure negative in that space with respect to other adjacent spaces. This strategy assumes that any transfer of air between such spaces will be in the direction from “clean” to “dirty”.

This strategy will not completely prevent contaminant migration to adjacent spaces, but it is generally more than adequate to control contaminants considered as not extremely hazardous or life-threatening. When controlling air pressure in spaces, you should consider how such a strategy might affect other mechanical systems in those spaces, perhaps most notably combustion appliances and fireplaces. 

Therefore, you can maintain space air pressure control with the use of supply/exhaust fans operating continuously or intermittently as required, and perhaps use an active pressure control that automatically adjusts fan speed to maintain the desired differential pressure between adjacent spaces.

7. Does a high-performance building need special IAQ provisions?

Yes, high-performance buildings are energy efficient and well insulated, therefore balanced ventilation is key. An equal amount of supply and exhaust air provides fresh air to a high-performance building that would otherwise be unrealized because of how airtight the building is.

8. What are NetZero homes?

Sometimes referred to as zero-net-energy homes, NetZero homes generate as much power as they use. NetZero homes use elements such as solar power, a larger quantity of insulation in ceilings, walls, floors & basements, high-efficiency windows & doors, and balanced ventilation with energy recovery to offset the carbon emissions the home exudes.

9. Do NetZero homes ensure a healthy indoor environment?

NetZero homes use balanced ventilation with energy recovery to remove stale air from the home and delivers fresh air into the home. If a NetZero home has balanced ventilation, the home replaces the air multiple times per hour and it provides the home with a continuous supply of fresh air. With improved insulation and ventilation, NetZero homes supply fresh air continuously and indoor temperatures generally stay constant to provide a comfortable and healthy home.

10. Are your products Passive Home or LEED certified?

In terms of Passive House, in regard to the Passive House Institute of the United States (PHIUS), then our HVI certification counts towards PHIUS Certification Programs: Passive House Institute U.S., but our products do not count toward Passive House Institute (PHI, the Germany/Europe program)
In terms of LEED certification, Fantech products offer multiple points related to air quality improvement. 

11. What is a fresh air appliance?

A fresh air appliance provides a controlled way of ventilating a home. Fresh air appliances work continuously to supply fresh, filtered air into the building while simultaneously removing an equal amount of moist, stale air. While fresh air appliances provide continuous ventilation to your home, they also help save you money on cooling and heating costs through heat or energy recovery. When it is warm and humid outside, the fresh air appliance pre-cools the fresh, warm incoming air through expelling the cold, stale air.

Watch the video “What is a Fresh Air Appliance?” to learn more about our HERO fresh air appliance unit.

12. For all existing methods, what are the advantages/disadvantages from installing a fresh air appliance over opening a window?

Installing a fresh air appliance introduces fresh air throughout the home and extracts the stale air on a consistent basis. Fresh air appliances bring in fresh air through a filter to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the home. The fresh air appliance installation costs more than opening a window initially, but long term it can save your family money through heat and energy recovery methods.

On the other hand, and dependent on where the window is in the home, opening a window will only ventilate the general area around the window. Also, opening a window introduces outdoor air without a filter. This leaves you with less control over the location and the amount of fresh air entering your home.

13. How much does it cost to maintain a healthy indoor environment?

To know the cost of ventilating a space, we need to know the energy associated with operating the fresh air appliance (mostly the fan motors) and the cost of conditioning the outside air (beyond what the fresh air appliance provides for free via recovery).

For example, one of our most popular residential fresh air appliances is the ATMO 150H. It uses 168 Watts of electrical energy while operating. Depending on the actual fresh air appliance model, the frequency of use, and the electricity rate, the operation cost will be some amount more or less than $174 / year (operating model ATMO 150H continuously at electricity rate of $0.12 / kWh).

A traditional, 80 CFM bath exhaust fan typically has a power consumption of 26 Watts, which is about $27 annually at the same electrical rate.

Across the fresh air appliances that Fantech offers, the average recovery rate ranges from 60-80% effectiveness.

With a fresh air appliance and a bathroom fan, maintaining a healthy indoor environment can cost up to $200 per 100 CFM annually. With heat or energy recovery options, Fantech can cut that number by $120 with 60% recovery and $160 with 80% recovery. Therefore, you would only pay $80 annually with 60% recovery and $40 annually with 80% recovery.

14. Which wall controller should I use with a fresh air appliance to supply air on demand?

Fantech has an extensive range of convenient wall controls that will help you efficiently operate your fresh air appliance.

Check out the ECO-Touch IAQ multi-function controller and for additional information, check out the video “Take total control of your indoor air quality”.

15. What maintenance does a fresh air appliance require? How often?

Depending on the location of your neighborhood, you will need to check the core and filters of your appliance every 3–6 months for cleanliness and clean the filters when they become dirty.

Check out the video to learn how to maintain a fresh air appliance...

16. How does HEPA filtration work?

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters work by capturing mold spores, pet dander, cooking odors, dust, dust mites, and their by-products all in a series of three filters. The pre-filter collects the largest particles while the carbon filter absorbs odors. The third filter is a true certified HEPA filter, which collects 99.97% of particles down to .3 microns. Our HERO HS300 uses a HEPA filtration system.

Check out this brochure for more information on the HERO HS300 and HEPA filtration in general.

17. How will my HEPA filtration system perform against wildfire smoke, viruses, and other pathogens?

For wildfire smoke, a HEPA filter captures smoke in the filter. However, you may still smell the wildfire smoke. For Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) purposes, it is always best to have a charcoal or activating carbon filter to minimize the smell that may seep through.

For filtering viruses and other pathogens, HEPA filters can be effective in diluting and trapping viral droplets because the filters are effective down to .3 microns. According to the CDC, supplementing ventilation systems with portable HEPA filtration systems can help reduce the number of infectious airborne particles.

The video “Service Yeti Installs Fantech Whole Home HEPA filtration System” shows a HEPA filtration system installation by Fantech and the filters included.

18. Where do I install a Fantech Whole-House HEPA filtration unit?

⁣HERO HS300—Normally installed on the cold air return of your furnace or air handler. Alternatively, you can install the HERO HS300 using 8-inch round collars for applications that require ducting. To achieve the best result, use a pressure sensing switch or current sensing relay to interconnect the HERO® HS300 Filtration System with the HVAC System blower.

⁣PHS300—Like the HS300, the PHS300 can filtrate areas up to 2000 sq. ft. The unit does not have to be fixated to the unit, and can be free-standing to support any area at any time.

19) Can I install the HEPA unit in an unconditioned space like a garage?

Yes. The cabinet is fully insulated. Therefore, you can install the HEPA unit in an unconditioned garage, an attic, or in other unconditioned spaces.

20. How often do I need to change the filters on my HEPA filtration system?

Depending on the location of your neighborhood, Fantech recommends replacing the pre-filter with carbon every 3–6 months and the HEPA filter once a year.

21. Where can I buy replacement filters for my fresh air appliance or whole house filtration unit?

If you are a homeowner, visit the Supply House website to find the right filter for your appliance. If you are a contractor, please visit Where to buy.

22. Does compliance with the local residential code ensure healthy indoor air?

Not always. Not all codes require ventilation. In the U.S., residential codes vary throughout the country, but Canadian residential codes do not change much from one region to the next.

23. Which aspects of the residential code directly focus on healthy IAQ?

No residential codes directly focus on healthy IAQ. Most residential codes cover building, plumbing, and mechanical systems in single- and multi-family residences. In addition, residential codes also cover fuel, gas, and electrical requirements.

24. What kinds of solutions are on the market for indoor air quality – for both code compliance and improved ventilation?

Solutions include installing or upgrading supply fans with energy-efficient motors, bathroom exhaust fans, fresh air appliances with energy recovery, radon fans, dryer exhaust duct power ventilators (DEDPVs), makeup air systems for balanced kitchen ventilation, etc.