When people consider indoor air quality solutions, they frequently focus on filtration and efficiency. However, air balancing can be an important part of the equation. Balancing is the process of evenly distributing airflow in an HVAC system throughout an entire building. Here is a look at how air balancing influences indoor air quality.

Preventing Pockets of Irritants

One way to think about the airflow in your house is to compare it to a running stream of water in nature. The cleanest water in a stream tends to be wherever the flow is the steadiest. Likewise, the dirtiest water in a stream tends to be where the water isn’t flowing well, leading to stagnant water that collects muck.

The same thing happens with the airflow in a house or commercial building. Suppose you have a storage closet in your home that doesn’t have any air vents; there is a pretty good chance that if you haven’t opened the door to that closet in a while, it’ll have a musty smell. The same problem happens with basements, attics and spare rooms.

What is happening? Fresh air isn’t regularly circulating into those rooms. Consequently, things like dust, dander, pollen and other irritants are collecting.

Air balancing prevents these pockets. By producing an even flow of fresh outside air through the HVAC filter, a well-balanced system keeps cycling cleaner air to all connected parts of the house. It also reduces zones of poor air quality by ensuring that all of the rooms have similar quality levels, minimizing those moments of surprise sneezing when you go into a particular room.

Venting Bad Air

Many aspects of modern life introduce bad air into a space. This happens on the interior side of the filtration system so you can’t just depend on fresh air inflows to address the bad air.

Your classic example of venting bad air is the range hood in a kitchen. Compounds from the cooking process jump off of the food and into the air no matter how healthy your preferred process might be. Heating pans and foods produces pollutants, and a range hood pulls that bad air out of the house as soon as possible.

A similar situation occurs just by having people in a house. We all exhale carbon dioxide, and that gas can accumulate in a house and lower its indoor air quality. Ventilation will draw more of the waste CO2 out of the house, leaving you with a better balance indoors. That also means better air quality.

Note that the CO2 level is a good proxy for other bad things in the air, particularly viruses, bacteria and mold. If your house has a high CO2 level due to poor ventilation, the odds are good that it also harbors more disease-causing microbes. These microbes often come from the occupants and visitors of the house so good ventilation as part of a balanced HVAC system is the best solution.

Controlling Humidity

High indoor humidity levels will encourage mold growth. Mold is easily one of the worst irritants when it comes to indoor air quality. Anything you can do to keep mold levels down is a win.

Balancing the air in a house ensures that the humidity level will be even in every room. A well-designed system should even address humidity levels in places like basements, storage closets and attics. With a good air balance, you can give mold nowhere to grow.

Extending System Lifespans

Generally, a well-balanced air system in a house should extend the service lifespan of the HVAC components. How does that affect air quality? A system that’s aging and performing poorly is going to introduce air quality problems. If the fans in the ducts are running more often to keep up with an unbalanced system, then the fans will slowly fail. That undermines their lifetime performance, leading to worse airflow. Getting the balance right at the start of a system’s service life gives it a better shot of running well the whole time, providing better air for more years.

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