Breathe easy in your new Indoor AirPLUS® home
Why does indoor air quality matter?
People are increasingly concerned about mold, radon, carbon monoxide, and toxic chemicals in their homes. Poor indoor air quality can lead to eye irritation, headaches, allergies, respiratory problems such as asthma, and other serious health problems. EPA studies show that levels of many indoor air pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. And since most people spend close to 90% of their time indoors, keeping indoor pollution levels as low as possible is the right thing to do for you and your family.
How can building practices help improve indoor air quality?
Builders can use a variety of construction practices and technologies to decrease the risk of poor indoor air quality, including careful selection and installation of building materials; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems; combustion-venting systems; and moisture control techniques. It's not easy for homebuyers to keep track of all the preferred construction details that lead to improved indoor air quality. That's why EPA created the Indoor AirPLUS® label. Ask for it in your next new home.
What does it take to earn an Indoor airPLUS ® Label?
Start with ENERGY STAR®
Every Indoor AirPLUS home must first earn the ENERGY STAR® Certified Home label, the trusted symbol of energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR® certified homes are between 15% and 30% more energy efficient than code-built homes.
Add indoor air quality improvements
Additional home design and construction features are included in the Indoor AirPLUS® label to help protect homes from airborne contaminants. These features stop air pollutants at the source and properly seal and ventilate the home.
Finish with independent verification
The home's energy performance and key indoor air quality features are verified by an independent third-party inspector to ensure that the builder has met all of EPA's rigorous guidelines for energy efficiency and indoor air quality
What features are included in Indoor airPLUS® Homes?
Mold and Moisture Control
Excess moisture breeds mold, attracts pests and deteriorates building materials. Mold is a common trigger for allergy and asthma symptoms. Indoor airPLUS® homes have additional construction features, including improved roof, wall, and foundation drainage to keep water where it belongs- outside of the home. Moisture-resistant building materials are also required in moisture-sensitive areas of the home and building materials are required to be kept dry during construction.
Efficient Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Systems (HVAC)
Poorly designed and installed HVAC systems can lead to comfort and air quality problems. ENERGY STAR certified homes include properly engineered systems and quality installation requirements. Indoor airPLUS® homes add enhanced filtration; additional dehumidification capacity in warm, moist climates; and inspection of air handling systems and duct work to ensure they are clean, free of debris, and provide adequate airflow.
Fuel-burning appliances can release dangerous gases, like carbon monoxide. All ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS® labeled homes include furnaces, water heaters, and other combustion appliances that are specially vented to prevent back drafting of pollutants into the home. All Indoor airPLus homes also include carbon monoxide alarms in each sleeping area.
Many building materials release chemicals (often called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) into the indoor air, sometimes long after the home is constructed. These chemicals can produce strong odors, and cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as other effects in sensitive people. Indoor airPLUS® homes use no-VOC or low-VOC paints, carpets, and low-formaldehyde manufactured wood products.
Pests, like rodents and cockroaches, can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as cause structural damage. Indoor airPLUS® homes seal or screen pest entry points, reducing the need for pesticide use.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. In high-radon zones, Indoor airPLUS® homes are built using radon-resistant construction techniques.
After purchasing a home with the Indoor airPLUS® label, owners receive a checklist of verified indoor air quality features, and instructions for operating and maintaining equipment to continue minimizing risks of indoor air quality problems.