Do I need to make special provisions for ventilation?
- Yes. A properly constructed SIP home has a very low air infiltration rate. That's great for reducing heating and cooling costs, but it isn't always healthy for the home or its occupants. We strongly recommend that a whole-house ventilating system be installed at the time of construction, and certainly before the first heating season. New homes are filled with new materials and many of those new materials - whether construction products, furnishings or finishes - will out gas various pollutants. Emissions will decrease with time - many products are stabilized within 6 months of manufacture - but extra ventilation may be needed in the meantime.
- The substance that is released in the greatest quantity is water, especially from masonry and the lumber. The materials in the average home contain thousands of gallons of water, which must eventually be removed from the house. The first heating season is typically when the greatest amount of moisture is driven from the house. The first heating season begins as soon as the house is closed to the winter during construction. One telltale sign of lack of adequate ventilation can show up in the form of heavy condensation on windows, or in the ridging of asphalt shingles or in telltale frost or ice at leakage points. Left unchecked, this moisture can produce mold or mildew and can eventually cause serious damage to your home and its contents.
- Ventilation is important even after the home and its contents have stabilized. Significant "indoor pollution" is produced by everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and even breathing. It is wise to monitor indoor humidity levels for they are a general indicator of indoor air quality. Most building scientists today recommend that interior humidity levels be maintained at a range of 30% to 50% to minimize health and structural problems.