Keeping Air Fresh in a Tiny Home

by andrewodom on April 13, 2012 · 5 comments


Downsizing and living in a small home can be a refreshing experience yet with all the advantages and reasons for doing so remain a few of the same concerns that come with any piece of property such as the state of one’s indoor air.

Yes, there may be other structural considerations that seem more important but given the fact tiny homes are smaller means they can sometimes be more susceptible to stagnant filthy air. In high concentrations constant inhalation of bad air can cause lifelong respiratory illnesses or worsen already existing ones.

That’s why when it comes to smaller scale residences keeping up with ensuring there’s a safe breathable space is essential to getting the fullest out of the lifestyle. Some considerations for doing this include the following:

  • Trash: Some trash bins around the house like in the kitchen and bathroom are notorious for filling up fast with icky substances. This refuse can quickly take on a life of its own when it has a chance to linger creating uncomfortable and rotten odors. Be sure to check the day to day status off trash in your home so it doesn’t get out of control and taint indoor air.
  • Insecticide: Many of us keep poisonous bug spray under the kitchen sink to kill roaches or ants when they are traipsing through the home. The problem is it poses a serious health risk polluting indoor air. Instead pests can be warded off using various eco-friendly means and trying to seal up holes in the woodwork can help prevent their return. As pest specialists in warmer climates like Fort Worth, TX exterminators will tell you only go with harsh chemicals when the situation requires an experienced exterminator.
  • Cleansers: Many standard household cleaners like bleach are made from toxic substances which leave noxious fumes. Since it’s tiny homes we’re talking about these fumes can travel easily to the rest of the living space. Good ventilation is one thing but if you really want to prevent headaches or other potential symptoms go with eco-friendly cleaners.
  • Plants: Certain plants are recognized as indoor air purifiers but others can boost allergies. If you are sensitive to pollen or have annual hay fever, research which ones will be best for your situation.
  • Mold: Mold spores can spread quickly and are extremely dangerous for people with respiratory problems. Just like with a leaky pipe don’t wait to deal with mold or mildew when it occurs.
  • Furnishings: Be vigilant when it comes to purchasing new rugs and other home furnishings, especially for compact spaces. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen which emits dangerous fumes, is often used in the manufacturing process by many companies.
  • Filters: In the summer you may be running an air conditioner; in the winter it may be an electric heater. In both cases electricians will advise periodically changing filters for better efficiency and preventing dirty particles from re-circulating into the living space.
  • Exhaust: In order to prevent carbon monoxide fumes from infiltrating the home make sure vents connected to fireplaces, burners, and things like wood stoves are working properly.
  • Cigarettes: If you or a friend smokes never do it inside or near openings to your tiny house. Not only will the smell get into everything and be hard to extract but it will also spoil your indoor air.
  • Dust: Finally, one of the simplest ways indoor air gets contaminated, especially in a tiny home, is from dust, -specifically the dust mite. While most dust is formed from organic matter it’s these smaller-than-the-naked-eye-can-see creatures that populate dust which cause people to sneeze, wheeze and have watery eyes. Although they get into almost everything they can be defeated or at least kept under control with regular cleaning in your tiny humble abode.

 

 


Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs for pros across the U.S. like St. Louis, MO air conditioning contractors.

  • http://twitter.com/ethanwaldman Ethan Waldman

    I plan on setting my kitchen range hood on a timer to run for a few minutes every few hours, especially in the winter.  

    • anotherkindofdrew

      We were just talking the other day about doing something similar. Great point Ethan!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=576916498 Andy Hawkins

    I can’t help but wonder at the validity of having an air conditioner in such a small house, especially the size of some of the units you see in pictures. Would it not be better to use a natural ventilation system with incoming air vents placed at floor level and outgoing vents in the eaves and have the air circulate naturally. You could even have an earthenware vase of cold water by the incoming vent to cool the air as it enters the house.

    • anotherkindofdrew

      There are a number of factors involved in such a decision. I would think the actual square footage, the shape of the home, whether or not there was loft space to consider, and the homes placement in regards to passive cooling, would be the first considerations.

  • Tugboat907

    Explore the smallest air to air exchanger. Worked great for me in Alakska as well as Washington. 

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