Intuitively, you probably know we spend the majority of our lives indoors. But do you know just how much? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans spend 87% of their entire lives inside buildings, another 6% of their lives in cars, and the remaining 7% outside. That’s 93% of our lives spent indoors! This number may be shocking, but when you think about it, we are all busy working in offices, attending school, taking care of domestic duties like cooking and cleaning, and (hopefully) sleeping. Especially lately, as our own homes have become our offices, gyms, schoolrooms, and rec centers, indoor air quality in new homes in Raleigh have become even more important.
While there are options for improving indoor air quality in any home, clean, a healthy home is much easier to achieve in a brand new home. That’s because there’s a focus on healthier living even before the foundation is poured. Materials and products are selected for their ability to contribute to a safer, healthier environment by giving off fewer emissions into the home (known as off-gassing). Here are some ways you can make sure your home’s air is clean and breathable, and how today’s innovative building materials and products can help.
Change Air Filters Regularly to improve indoor air quality
Air pollutants in the home come from many different sources. Whether it’s common household dust, pet dander, or pollen brought in from outside on shoes and clothes, some type of unwanted particles in the air is a given. The air filters in your HVAC system act as the lungs for your home. Air passes through them and dangerous particles are filtered out to make sure the freshest air possible is pulled into the system and circulated. Change your filters frequently to ensure they are always working at full capacity. Check the specifications of your particular HVAC system for detailed instructions.
New Homes Inc. (NHI) uses whole-home air filtration with MERV-rated air filters to clean everyday pollutants from the air inside your home as it is pushed through your heating and cooling system. Specifically, the MERV13 filters that we use trap about 98% of airborne particles, including mold, dander, bacteria, and even particles that carry viruses. They work so efficiently that they don’t need to be changed as frequently as traditional air filters. Your indoor air will be purer and noticeably easier to breathe.
Use Low VOC Materials
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds and they are gasses that are emitted into the air from common materials and products used to build and renovate homes, like paint and carpet. So while some people may love that fresh paint smell, it’s actually better if you CAN’T smell it.
New Home Inc uses low VOC paint by Sherwin Williams and low VOC carpet by Shaw Flooring. While some off-gassing does occur, it happens sooner (in a matter of days, vs. weeks, months, or years), and reduces the time for the process of “off-gassing” and the air inside the home is VOC-free, giving you a Healthy Home with .
Humidity can wreak havoc in a home, not just because it’s uncomfortable, but because it can impact air quality. The more humid a home, the more it is prone to mold and mildew, especially in places like kitchens and bathrooms where some degree of humidity is inevitable. While opening windows and properly sealing tile and fixtures to prevent moisture from getting trapped are best practices, the way a home is constructed can significantly impact how humid the air gets inside.
NHI uses high-efficiency HVAC systems that keep air drier by automatically adjusting to humidity conditions inside the home, based on measurements from the smart thermostat. We also use a whole home moisture wrap to keep out excess moisture, a high-performance building envelope to keep conditioned air inside, and advanced air sealing for no air leakage. The result? A system that pulls in fresh air from outside, removes moisture, cools or heats it to the perfect temperature, then prevents it from escaping. Your system works more efficiently, saving you energy costs in the long run, and keeping your home dry and comfortable in any weather.
Clean Carpets Often
Carpets act as one giant air filter for your home, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you keep your carpets clean, it frees up more surface space to trap air pollutants so they can be easily vacuumed away. Vacuum your carpets weekly, and plan for a deep clean using hot water extraction every 12-18 months.
If you live in an older home, and notice a dark line near the bottom of baseboards near the carpet, that means your HVAC system is pulling dirty air across the room and the particles are being trapped in the carpet. Once soil particles are deeply embedded in older carpet, they are hard to clean and discoloration can occur both on your carpet and along your baseboards.
NHI uses Shaw Floors carpeting, which is stain and soil resistant for fast and easy clean-up. Using innovative manufacturing materials and technology, this carpet prevents dirt and contaminants from settling too deeply, so even with quick, regular maintenance, you know your carpet is seriously clean. Plus, with the advanced HVAC technology mentioned earlier, the air in your home will never be so dirty that it would leave marks of any kind.
A truly clean home starts with the air inside. With these simple steps, plus the innovative materials and products that New Homes Inc. offers, you’ll breathe easy every time you set foot inside your new home. For healthy home features from NHI, visit our SMART. HEALTHY. NEW page.