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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Air Quality is Better with Less Insulation : Your House Needs to Breathe

Many folks go out and spend a lot of money insulating their house like it is a penguin trying to survive an arctic climate, but if you find that you or your family is staying sick a lot, it may be due to the poor air quality in your home.

Indoor air pollution seems to be a more common problem than outdoor pollution for many households, believe it or not. If you think about it, especially if you always have a lot of people and pets in the house, you are basically trapping a lot of allergens and pollutants inside your home (including radon gas), and even more so if it has too much insulation and can't breathe very well.

Sure, a house with an abundance of insulation will save you on utility bills, gas, electric, etc., but it's not worth it if the air quality is bad and you're having frequent medical bills due to sick kids and whatnot. Something tells me that the medical bills will be slightly higher than an inflated electric bill, if ya know what I mean. However, many homes don't have the "my house can't breathe" problem, but there are still many other things they can do to improve the air quality. But if you're thinking about filling every single crack and air leak along with sealing around the doors and windows, you may want to think twice.

It is good to have a well-insulated house, in most cases, but some people simply overdo it.
I once heard a story about some guy who had this big project that was geared to saving money on his utility bills in the long run. He spent several hundreds of dollars getting his house extra insulated and had nearly every possible air leak sealed. Well, a few weeks later he noticed that everybody in the house constantly stayed sick or had some type of respiratory problem going on, chest congestion, etc. After a while, he finally figured out that his house couldn't breathe, then he had to spend several more hundreds of dollars to undo all that insulation work that he originally did. Damn, talk about a poor choice of investment - all trying to cut utility costs.

Speaking of that, one the best ways to cut utility costs, is to "tough it out." By that, I mean keep your house a little cool in the winter and a little warm in the summer. Use stuff like tower fans during the summer, ceiling fans throughout the year, or wear more clothes during the winter. Yeah, simple things like that. If you start bitching about how "it is too cold" or "it is too hot," and you're having trouble paying your bills, just think about how people lived during the log cabin days. Yeah, that should make you feel at least somewhat better. Plus, they didn't have cable TV or Internet back then, either. Ha-ha!

As for simple solutions to improve air quality that doesn't relate to less insulation: Vacuum the floors more often, use a few air purifiers throughout your home, throw the pets outside or keep the indoor pet population to a bare minimum, don't smoke cigarettes and/or tobacco inside the house, dust occasionally (I rarely do that), clean the mold & mildew as it becomes visible or sooner if possible (this stuff happens mainly in the bathroom), don't solely rely on ventless gas fireplaces or stoves, throw your kids outside (Ha-ha! Just kidding about the kids), and open up the windows or doors when the temperature outside is not too cold or too hot, etc., et cetera, yada, yada, blah, blah...

Well, I'm not going to talk about this 'common sense' subject all day, so if you'd like to read more about this mundane, house-related problem, here's a couple links below:

* Your House Might Be Making You Sick
* Air Articles - Indoor Pollution

If you're interested in buying some air purifiers online, which is especially helpful for removing second-hand smoke and pet dander, go here: "Second Hand Smoke vs. Air Purifiers"

---End of Post "Air Quality is Better with Less Insulation : Your House Needs to Breathe"

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