The INS and OUTS of airflow: How airtight should your home be?
When planning the build of your house, it is easy to get absorbed in the ‘exciting’ and ‘fun’ aspects of what is to come. And yes, it is exciting. But we must remember to consider what is going to be directly affecting the daily lives of those inhabiting the premise.
I want you to take a moment wherever you are. And do nothing for 10 seconds… What just happened? Well, odds are you didn’t actually do ‘nothing.’ You just breathed in your surrounding air, as did I. Our air quality is one of, if not the most important things to our human existence. Because of this, our air quality is not something to be overlooked when creating a new structure of any kind.
So, Why is airtightness important?
When wanting to build an eco-friendly and energy-efficient home -which by the way is what we at OSA are all about!- Airtightness is a significant factor in the improvement of your daily life. Having a house that is not airtight and drafty has MAJOR implications.
- Firstly, it’s going to cost you money in the long run. All that hard-earned cash of yours will quite literally be escaping out the window! Having a house that is not airtight and, therefore, not energy-efficient means more money spent heating and maintaining your comfort.
- Secondly, the loss of energy is bad for the environment, which we all know. So be kind to yourself and the earth and factor in airtightness. You will feel the effects straight away, and the planet will feel it forever.
- Lastly, and probably most importantly, living in a drafty home can have severe and sometimes long-term implications on your health and the health of your family. If you have children or an older person in your home, you could be opening them up to an elongated flu, continuous colds, respiratory issues, and bacterial issues if problems such as mold and mildew are left unchecked.
What if my home is ‘too’ airtight?
Today, homes are designed to be more airtight to help increase energy efficiency. But when a home is too airtight, it can affect the ventilation. After all, we are human and rely on a fresh supply of oxygen to function to our highest abilities. A home that it too airtight can lead to certain moulds and bacteria in the air. A requirement when considering airtightness is ensuring that the design allows for healthy, filtered clean air. Which is vital for all occupants within our homes. A ventilation system will provide you with fresh air as a minimum, but can do so much more for the wellbeing and comfort of the inhabitants.
According to today’s building code, you must have a ventilation system if your home is airtight. All of these systems should be checked and maintained by a professional regularly to look after your wellbeing. Each system is unique to the building and the number of occupants, so leave it to the pros.
How to assess your airtightness
You may be wondering how exactly we begin to address the airtightness of a dwelling. Factoring in the air in and around your home has many variables and will change drastically depending on if you have an urban/ suburban dwelling, what city you are in, and simply what direction your space faces. These considerations are what your designer takes into account when designing an energy-efficient home and what will be put into action later when your builder brings your plans to life.
What can OSA do to help?
Please note that this is a relatively simple process when you begin designing a home. So in the beginning, is the right time to factor it all in. At OSA, we handle all of the maths, so you don’t need to worry about giving yourself a headache over it. You can go ahead and shake off those high school physics flashbacks.
When discussing your design plans with our team, there are several individual aspects for us to take into account, your location, your structure type, and your personal priorities in terms of air quality, energy consumption, ventilation systems, and the health of your family.
So how important is it to have an airtight home? Well, to answer that, it’s as simple as the air we breathe.