Issues with indoor air quality

Living in Elgin, Illinois, the weather is always a consideration.

We don’t buy tickets to sporting events or concerts between the months of December and April because of the potential for blizzard conditions and icy roads.

We need a wardrobe that includes heavy boots, wool coat, gloves and hats as well as shorts and tank tops. It’s helpful to drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle and necessary to own snow shovels and ice scrapers. Over the winter, the temperature is consistently below freezing and regularly dips below zero. The snow can accumulate in feet overnight and the wind chill can be dangerous. During spring and fall, we expect thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rainfall. There can be power outages and flooding. While summers are typically short, they are hot and especially humid. I usually switch from running the furnace to starting up the air conditioner with no break in-between. There is seldom an opportunity to open the windows and welcome in fresh air. Because of the expense of heating and cooling, keeping a tightly sealed thermal envelope is a priority. I’ve caulked, insulated and weatherstripped to prevent energy waste. However, the lack of natural ventilation creates concerns with indoor air quality. Contaminants get trapped indoors, circulated throughout the house and can lead to health risks. The air starts to feel stale and stuffy. When I mentioned these concerns to an HVAC contractor in Elgin, he recommended the installation of a heat recovery ventilator. An HRV brings in a steady supply of fresh air to replace the stale air. By using the outgoing air to preheat the incoming air in the winter, it lessens demands on the furnace.

Elgin IL fireplace