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Improve Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality During Your Next Home Upgrade Project

If you’ll be upgrading or remodeling your home in the coming year and seek to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’ll want to assess how your improvements will impact the indoor air quality inside your home.

The U.S. EPA has developed a new voluntary guidance document, Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades, that offers a set of best practices for improving indoor air quality in conjunction with energy upgrade work in homes. It includes recommendations for upfront assessment, along with minimum and expanded actions you can take to improve or maintain indoor air quality and indoor environments during home energy upgrades or remodeling.

When it comes to your residential HVAC system, here’s what the EPA’s guide recommends:

Assessment Protocol:

  • Evaluate the condition of the existing HVAC system components (e.g., furnace, boiler, air handler, heat pump, associated ductwork).
  • Include an evaluation of whether the system is functioning properly.
  • Determine whether the HVAC system is properly sized.
  • If HVAC replacement or modification is anticipated, base sizing calculations on post-retrofit conditions.

Minimum Actions:

  • Based on an assessment of equipment condition and sizing, repair, modify or replace equipment to meet minimum corrective actions for proper HVAC function.
  • If repairs are needed to restore HVAC to proper functioning, repair in accordance with industry best practices.
  • If replacing equipment, base sizing calculations on post-retrofit conditions.
  • Install new equipment in accordance with industry standards AND verify installation in accordance with standards.
  • Ensure newly installed central forced-air HVAC systems have a minimum MERV 6 filter, no filter bypass, and no air cleaners designed to intentionally produce ozone.

Expanded Actions:

  • Replace functioning HVAC equipment that is near the end of its service life with new energy efficient HVAC equipment and base sizing calculations on post-retrofit conditions.
  • Consider using filters with a high MERV rating (11 or above) if equipment capacity is sufficient to accommodate the pressure drop.

Be sure to work with a Virginia-based HVAC contractor who understands the relevant industry standards and who you can trust to help you through the process. At SSI, we offer HVAC upgrades, repairs, and inspections to keep you comfortable indoors. Call (703) 968-0606 or request a service call.

Learn more about the specifics of these standards in the EPA’s guide, Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades.