Indoor air quality is a concern, especially with today’s tightly wrapped houses that prevent the transfer of air in and out. While house wrap reduces energy use, it also contributes to stale indoor air.
If you’re using your converted garage to house vehicles, motorcycles or equipment, or if it’s your man cave where you fire up a stogie now and then, you’ll definitely want to make sure the air is fresh.
Air Purification Options
Here are the best ways to keep the air supply in your remodeled garage fresh and breathable.
Heat Recovery Ventilator: Ventilators exhaust a steady stream of polluted indoor air while drawing in fresh outdoor air. A heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, is the right choice for cold climates. The air you’re exhausting may be polluted in the winter, but it is also heated.
An HRV has a heat exchanger built into it. The outgoing warm air and the incoming cool air never mix, but they both flow through the heat exchanger where heat from outgoing air is transferred to the incoming air to warm it. Heat recovery of more than 70 percent is possible.
Energy Recovery Ventilator: Used in warmer climates, an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, works much like an HRV. It preheats incoming air in winter. In summer, it pre-cools incoming air as well as draws humidity out of it. So, in addition to providing a steady supply of fresh air, it helps to reduce humidity in that air. This makes the air more comfortable and reduces the need for air conditioning.
HVAC Air Purifiers: These devices are installed in the HVAC system. They filter out allergens and other breathable contaminants such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold and bacteria. The better air purifiers filter out odors, fumes and chemical vapors along with bacteria and airborne viruses. The best models remove 99.9 percent of airborne contaminants.
Some advanced air purifiers also have an internal UV light that kills bacteria and viruses as air flows past it.
Tabletop Air Purifiers: These units are not typically effective as HVAC units because they can’t handle the same volume of air and the filtration is not as complete. However, they are a cost-effective alternative, especially if you’re not smoking in the garage or storing gas or gas-powered equipment. They may not be suitable for use if you or others in your household have asthma, severe allergies or C.O.P.D.
Exchanging air through open windows is always an option. When you don’t want open windows, these air purification technologies will help keep indoor air fresh and healthy.