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This letter is in response to the article, "Weatherization and Indoor Air Quality,” (HE Spring, 2017, p. 14.).

Air sealing completely degrades IAQ if a home becomes too tight. ASHRAE 62.2. is designed to prevent this. Our Wisconsin residential energy efficiency program requires that the home energy assessors, and we (those who manage them) inspect homes and review the results of calculations (such as those made using tables at Residential Energy Dynamics) to ensure short term and long term conditions are good for indoor air quality.

The more interesting question is what happens when a home is too tight? Back when I was in the field giving estimates for homes, I ran into it a few times. Aside from high humidity, mold, mildew, bad smells, higher CO and CO2, there’s a symptom most are unaware of…in the basement, where furniture is positioned close to walls, a slimy bio film begins to build. It mirrors the dimensions of the furniture, does not smell good, and is quite slippery. Just gross really. 

In the homes where I’ve seen this, it took excessive moisture but in all cases, a continuous or intermittent automatic bath fan resolved the problem within 2 weeks. Which is what the ASHRAE 62.2 guidelines recommend.

Chad D. Laibly
Home Performance with Energy Star
Regional Manager

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