Now that the hotter months of summer are behind us, outdoor air quality is less of an issue (though not entirely moot – particulate pollution can still be a problem even during winter). However, as we all huddle in our cozy homes (particularly if that cozy home is using a gas fireplace or furnace, which can leak fumes if not properly maintained or ventilated), it’s important to pay attention to indoor air quality.
It’s counterintuitive, but the work you may do to seal up your home – keeping Old Man Winter out at the same time you’re keeping your heat in and energy bills as low as possible – can go too far, reducing its ability to ventilate pollutants and fumes that can be generated by everything from your furnace to your carpet. This interview with a PhD at John Hopkin’s University offers more details about the range of indoor air quality problems and how to address them.
If you are concerned about both energy and indoor air quality, getting an energy audit done by a professional auditor can make sure you balance both issues when making improvements to your home. The regional energy conservation education program, Save-a-Ton, offers some tips on how to select a reputable auditor, and has partnered with a number of companies that provide such audits. You can also get in touch with the Community Alliance for Energy Efficiency, who has access to financial incentives to help you obtain an audit and learn how to better button down your home – but not too much.