Do we need a Fresh Air Intake in Texas?
The majority of air conditioning systems installed in Texas do not have Fresh Air Intakes. Why? Is a fresh air intake really necessary? Does a fresh air intake add additional cost to operating the system? Since outside air is hot, humid and usually dirty, do I want a fresh air intake added to my home through the air conditioning system? Don’t I get enough fresh air from just opening and closing doors? What if my house is tight? What if my house is loose? Does it make a difference?
Uncontrolled fresh air enters your house through cracks and crevices in your home, through the air conditioning system, and through leaks in the duct system. Uncontrolled fresh air can be very undesirable. Controlled, measured fresh air will improve the health of the home. Fresh Air is brought into the attic return through a 5″ pleated filter. This fresh air intake is open to the outside atmosphere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever there is a differential pressure outside the house from inside the house, fresh air will come in.
Whenever there is a moisture differential between outside and inside the house – fresh air helps equalize the difference. This reduces window sweating in the wintertime. When the air conditioning system is operating, additional fresh air is drawn in by the natural pull of the blower. The unconditioned filtered fresh air is mixing with return air and then is treated by the air conditioning system – either heated or cooled.
Every new system installed today should have a Fresh Air Intake. It should not be optional, it should be mandatory. State laws do not force the issues, but health concerns do. Products that we use in our homes have Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that put out gases as they age. Without a Fresh Air Intake, these VOCs can build up and cause allergic reactions, asthmatic symptoms, and can require treatment with medicine to compensate for the contaminated air. The medical industry does not recognize contaminated air as a medical condition. The reason is, they can’t measure that when you go for treatment. They can only address the problem.
Generally, about 5-10% outside air is desirable. If you don’t have fresh air inside your system, should you add it? The answer is YES, especially if your doing equipment replacement. There are certain factors that you must consider:
Clean air source
Must be taken from outside
Must be away from contaminated fresh air – such as water heater vents, dryer vents, etc.
Must be filtered
The overall effect of a Fresh Air Intake is to dilute what pollutants are in your house, refresh the air and make it all more breathable.
Just remember – the best filter in your house is your lungs. They will be happy to filter the contaminants, but the more you breathe these contaminants, the sicker you get. Let’s clean the air and reduce the problems.