Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality

Educational Material | IAQ & Ventilation | via: National Center for Healthy Housing

Proper ventilation helps improve indoor air quality. Ventilation can control indoor humidity and airborne contaminants, both of which either contribute to or act as health hazards.

High indoor humidity can spur mold growth. High humidity may result from poor construction or rehabilitation, site design that does not properly manage water, and/or inadequate air exchange. A reasonable target for relative humidity is 30-60 percent. A low cost hygrometer, available at hardware stores, can be used to measure relative humidity. In cool climates, inadequate ventilation in the winter can contribute to excessive moisture and humidity because normal activities create moisture (cooking, bathing, breathing), and there is insufficient natural ventilation (opening windows) or mechanical ventilation (fans, exhaust systems) to remove the moisture. In warmer climates, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can pull warmer, humid air inside. In this case, the ventilation system may help create indoor humidity problems unless the system also dehumidifies the air.