Indoor air quality problems

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A couple friends of mine, the wife and at least one of the adult children are sensetive to organic chemical vapors. To the point of having to buy low VOC latex paints, for the house.
Recently, it's been so bad, they had to evacuate the house and move to a motel room.
I'm looking for ideas, for VOC lowering air filters, or how to do more air exchanges without killing the utility bill by leaving the windows all open.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
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On Feb 15, 6:11 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

I have connected a dryer type vent to the air INTAKE of my hot air furnace. When the air handler is on, it pulls some fresh air into the system. Yes, I know it must reduce the efficiency but probably not too much. The cold air goes right into the furnace and replaces some air that is going to infiltrate anyway. This way at least some the infiltration air goes directly into the furnace instead directly into the living space. It works for me, keeps the house fresh. I use this in the winter, and close it for the summer.
Mark
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I was thinking three inch PVC. Ideally up through the roof, so not to get car exhaust or lawn mower fumes. But, pretty much the same concept. Lose some heat, pushed out of the house, but cheaper than hospital bills.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I have connected a dryer type vent to the air INTAKE of my hot air furnace. When the air handler is on, it pulls some fresh air into the system. Yes, I know it must reduce the efficiency but probably not too much. The cold air goes right into the furnace and replaces some air that is going to infiltrate anyway. This way at least some the infiltration air goes directly into the furnace instead directly into the living space. It works for me, keeps the house fresh. I use this in the winter, and close it for the summer.
Mark
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On 2/15/2013 5:56 PM, Mark wrote:

I seem to recall something about the city inspection department requiring makeup air vents for commercial installations of high capacity quick recovery gas water heaters. It was a 6" diameter galvanized sheet metal pipe with a rain cap extending from the roof to a foot or less from the floor in the room where the water heater is installed. O_o
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Introducing fresh air for combustion and indoor air quality is required by code as far as I know where I live.
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On 2/15/2013 11:03 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

It makes good sense with modern tighter buildings. A home my family owned had a fireplace and whenever the dryer ran or the bathroom vent fan ran for longer than a few minutes, we smelled burnt wood because air was being sucked into the house via the chimney. I do a lot of work for restaurants and makeup air is a necessity because of the big kitchen exhaust hoods. What many people don't know is that the airflow has to be balanced to prevent conditioned air from being pulled out of the building. The darned equipment to measure the flow can be expensive and not every service company can afford it so there are usually guys who offer a service for measuring and balancing the airflow as required by the city inspection departments. If you ever see a fellow hauling around a big strange gizmo like the one in the link, it's not a megaphone. ^_^
http://www.davis.com/Product/Alnor_Low_Flow_Balometer_Capture_Hood/WO-10550-22?referred_id388&gclid=CMfjuLKaurUCFQLznAod3A4AlQ
http://tinyurl.com/d356sv5
TDD
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On 2/15/2013 3:56 PM, Mark wrote:

That type of vent can cause positive pressure inside the house. That blows wet air out the cracks. In winter, moisture condenses inside the walls and can lead to nastiness growing there.
Seal up the house and crack one window. Incense stick will tell you which way the air is flowing. Very sensitive to outside wind...so pick a calm day.
I've found a heat recovery ventilator to be very helpful in reducing stuffiness inside the house. If you like to tinker, they're pretty easy to build. I have a tiny DIY one stuck thru insulation in a window and an electrostatic air filter on it.
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/conservation/891-diy-ventilation-heat-exchanger-40.html
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On Feb 15, 6:11 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

How about a heat recovery ventilator? It's essentially an air to air heat exchanger with a blower. It pulls fresh air in from outside, passes it through the heat exchanger with the house air going in the opposite direction to the outside. It recovers a good portion of the energy you would waste by just opening a window in winter or summer.
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The H.O. was thinking along these lines.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
How about a heat recovery ventilator? It's essentially an air to air heat exchanger with a blower. It pulls fresh air in from outside, passes it through the heat exchanger with the house air going in the opposite direction to the outside. It recovers a good portion of the energy you would waste by just opening a window in winter or summer.
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Activated carbon ?
Greg
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Never know. That could help.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Activated carbon ?
Greg
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On 2/15/2013 6:11 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Why is there VOC if they aren't painting???? Do they have a gas furnace?
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We're not sure why there is VOC. I don't know the age of the house. I wonder if there is that old insullation with the formaldehyde. Not sure.
The furnace is some kind of high efficiency natural gas unit. The water heater is electric. Think they do have a gas range, but not sure how much they cook on it.
I'm also not sure any other sources of chemicals. Four cats, and one huge overly friendly dog.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Why is there VOC if they aren't painting???? Do they have a gas furnace?
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On Feb 15, 6:11 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

get furnace and any similar appliance.
you may have a malfuntiong appliance producing excess co2..... We got carbon monxide poisioning from a clogged hot water flue. We could of died. fortunately a friend a volunteer fireman stoped by to visit and got ill too, he recognized the symptoms.....
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It's worth a look. I havn't looked at their furnace, in a few years. And that was to size up for air filter.
Water heater is electric. They had a gas "instant" heater, which is not connected at present. They also had a non vented space heater, which they took out and pitched out. They do have a brick fireplace for burning wood, which I don't think has been used since they have been there.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
get furnace and any similar appliance.
you may have a malfuntiong appliance producing excess co2..... We got carbon monxide poisioning from a clogged hot water flue. We could of died. fortunately a friend a volunteer fireman stoped by to visit and got ill too, he recognized the symptoms.....
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On 2/15/2013 6:11 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

WHAT is "so bad"?????? I'm sure there is something I'm missing about the situation, but I cannot imagine what in a normal house would suddenly cause the family to move!!??
I've had two experiences with families slowly (thankful it was slow) being poisoned by CO, and their complaints were what forced discovery. The first were neighbors, young couple (then, same as us) with kids. We were to visit for dinner, and my hubby and kids arrived before me because I was working. My family had been at their house couple of hours when I arrived and immediately, when I walked in, my eyes started to burn. I had never had that experience before, NOBODY ELSE was bothered, and it bothered me enough that we discussed everything we could imagine. The burning did not let up the whole time we were there. My friend said she had had headaches, I think, and her plants were dying. Next day at work, I asked my bud in the maintenance department about it....we were thinking it must be the humidifier...and he knew immediately. I called my friend and told her to call the gas co. asap, which she did. She called me back, crying, because the CO was so bad the gas co. would not let her back in the house!
The next event was a couple with brand new house, fireplace drawing too much and pulling furnace exhaust back through the house. Both were having headaches and I guess I had read up enough that I knew to tell them to call the gas co.

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When I was there yesterday, I was not able to smell or detect anything out of the ordinary. However, the man of the house tells me that his wife one one adult child were both very sensetive to airborne stuff. That's about as much as I know about the matter.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .

WHAT is "so bad"?????? I'm sure there is something I'm missing about the situation, but I cannot imagine what in a normal house would suddenly cause the family to move!!??
I've had two experiences with families slowly (thankful it was slow) being poisoned by CO, and their complaints were what forced discovery. The first were neighbors, young couple (then, same as us) with kids. We were to visit for dinner, and my hubby and kids arrived before me because I was working. My family had been at their house couple of hours when I arrived and immediately, when I walked in, my eyes started to burn. I had never had that experience before, NOBODY ELSE was bothered, and it bothered me enough that we discussed everything we could imagine. The burning did not let up the whole time we were there. My friend said she had had headaches, I think, and her plants were dying. Next day at work, I asked my bud in the maintenance department about it....we were thinking it must be the humidifier...and he knew immediately. I called my friend and told her to call the gas co. asap, which she did. She called me back, crying, because the CO was so bad the gas co. would not let her back in the house!
The next event was a couple with brand new house, fireplace drawing too much and pulling furnace exhaust back through the house. Both were having headaches and I guess I had read up enough that I knew to tell them to call the gas co.
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On 2/16/2013 7:17 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

move out of the house? That suggests a very serious problem, worthy of expert assessment. How long have they lived there? ALWAYS bothered by airborne "stuff"? Breathing is important, and having trouble with it usually suggests calling in other than the neighborhood (nothing personal here) handyman. Really, do they have a CO monitor with a battery? Does it work?
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I helped the family move in, a couple years ago. The house is a couple decades old, not sure how old. The HO tells me that one of them had work place exposure to organic solvents, and is now more sensetive. Wife has fibromyalgia.
You've got a good point, needs someone with experience in air quality. Not just the home handyman. I'll have to ask about the CO detector.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I love mysteries..........sensitive to airborne stuff and have had to move out of the house? That suggests a very serious problem, worthy of expert assessment. How long have they lived there? ALWAYS bothered by airborne "stuff"? Breathing is important, and having trouble with it usually suggests calling in other than the neighborhood (nothing personal here) handyman. Really, do they have a CO monitor with a battery? Does it work?
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If I had a house that I thought had these problems, long before I moved out or started filtering, venting, etc., I would get a professional company to come in and do air samples. I don't know what it costs, but I would bet for a few hundred bucks they would find out what exactly is or isn't in the air.
As Norminn points out, it *could* be a lot of things. But since Stormin can't smell it and we don't even have a description of what it smells like, I sure wouldn't be trying to use fresh air to solve an unknown problem. To the list already suggested, I'd add mold and maybe it was a former meth lab.....
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