With so much recent focus on health, many homeowners have begun to look closer at their home's air quality. The average American adult spends 90 percent of their time indoors, where the air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. And throughout the day, we breathe in 3,000 gallons of air on average, which include microscopic pollutants like dust, mold and bacteria that cause symptoms ranging from headaches and nausea to fatigue and congestion.
With 42 percent of people working remotely, and many Oklahoma area students learning online, indoor air quality in homes have become a rising priority for families across the nation.
How can you determine your own home’s indoor air quality? Search for local companies that will test the air in your home. You can also buy an indoor air quality monitor that will continually test and report on the levels of pollutants in your home. Devices vary, but many test chemicals (VOCs), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and even formaldehyde.
If your home has unsatisfactory levels of any of these, many local companies offer services that can help improve your air quality. However, before now, most homes were simply not constructed to adequately keep the air inside healthy.
Some new homes, however, are now built to provide good indoor air quality. Homes by Taber, for instance, installs top-of-the-line whole-home air filtration systems* and hypoallergenic surfaces, which help limit the spread of indoor and outdoor allergens, bacteria, and viruses before they reach your lungs.
Whole-home air filtration systems filter and purify the air as soon as it enters your home to eliminate as many of these particles as possible. Filters used in these systems are measured by the MERV or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value that judges their ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns on a scale of 1 to 16. Homes by Taber selected MERV 13 filters for the Healthy Home Technology package to provide optimal system performance.
Homes by Taber provides a fresh air intake system to pull fresh air into the home and passes it through the system, maintaining a steady and quiet flow through the home.
Long before the HVAC is installed, homebuilders have decisions to make that help seal the home and set the rest of construction on pace for a home that is built tight and ventilated right.
This starts with features like the house wrap and radiant barriers builders use in construction and specially engineered foams and seals that limit airflow at each point of entry from the roof to the foundation. Creating this envelope from the beginning has proven vital in the battle against absorbing and retaining moisture that can negatively affect the structure and the air quality of a home. Homes by Taber seals and mastics all ducts around the home to prevent this air from penetrating the home.
When it comes time to make interior selections for new homes, there are decisions here too that can create a healthier space for families to live and grow.
Take flooring for example. While carpet became a common choice for homeowners in the 1950s for its cozy appearance and easy customization, the trend has died down in recent years as we turn to tile or synthetic wood flooring options. This tilt is due in part to the ability to clean the latter two much more thoroughly. Homes by Taber installs wood-look tile flooring throughout the living area, kitchen, entry ways, and hallways which makes it easy to clean pet hair, mud and other messes that may otherwise hide in the base of a tufted carpet.
Freshly-installed carpet, carpet pads and adhesives can often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well, that emit odors and pollutants for weeks or even months after a new home is built. Limiting these areas where carpet is installed dramatically decreases the VOCs in the home. These VOCs can negatively contribute to overall air quality. Paint is another big producer of VOCs, but low-VOC formulas are gaining popularity making it easy to work around that potential threat as well. Homes by Taber uses low VOC paint on all walls throughout the home to contribute to increased air quality for the homeowners.
Another trendy option for a healthy homes applies to the material used for countertops. Homes by Taber offers quartz in kitchens because the non-porous resin makes it difficult for bacteria, mold and mildew to grow. Quartz is classified as antimicrobial and is easy to disinfect between uses as well which helps limit transmission in this high-traffic area of the home.
Stainless steel appliances and fixtures offer another easy-to-clean addition to a home. Stainless steel is ideal for hygienic environments as it's easily sterilized and resistant to corrosion, which is why it’s the material of choice for surgical rooms. This material, often used for refrigerators, oven doors, dishwashers and sinks, is corrosion-resistant and hygienic. Homes by Taber selects stainless steel appliances to fulfill this need for sterilization in food-safe areas.
*Whole-home air filtration systems not included in Blue Series