When the Mastrangelo family had renovated and expanded their Massachusetts cape home several years ago, they added spray foam insulation to the entire second floor and roof. They wanted to make their home as energy efficient and comfortable as possible. Sadly, the family soon started suffering from indoor air quality issues that took years to solve until they discovered and installed a Zehnder ComfoAir 200 energy recovery ventilator.
Indoor Air Quality Issues Plague the Family
The Mastrangelos noticed a difference in their home’s air quality immediately after the renovations were completed.
“From the first night we spent in the house, I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” says Christine Mastrangelo. “Our noses were burning and literally felt like we are suffocating.” They also noticed a strange, unidentifiable odor in the hallway that they couldn’t resolve.
The family was especially concerned by the air quality in the daughter’s bedroom and spent years and a lot of money trying to solve the problem. They were leaving windows open even during the Winter, installed an inefficient energy recovery ventilator on the furnace, and retrofitted the furnace to have fresh air intake. Unfortunately, these efforts made little to no difference and the family continued to suffer from the contaminated home air.
Christine’s daughter suffers from chronic Lyme disease, which has been linked to poor indoor air quality and other environmental contaminants. The family was exasperated and didn’t know what to do to improve the ventilation strategy in their home, but they understood the importance of dramatically improving their home air quality.
“We brought in countless HVAC professional to give us suggestions, yet nobody could really help,” says Christine. “We were at the point where we needed to sell our house,” Her daughter’s health was suffering, and the family needed to find a solution right away.
The Mastrangelos hired an indoor air quality contractor that confirmed that there were serious indoor air quality issues. The carbon dioxide levels were extremely high, and there were also elevated relative humidity levels and particle counts. At levels of 2,000 to 5,000 parts per million, carbon dioxide can cause fatigue, headaches, and poor concentration.
The Mastrangelo’s air quality findings indicated that the same air was being constantly recirculated without introducing adequate amounts of fresh air into the home. This allows contaminants and toxins to accumulate without exiting the home or being diluted with fresh air.
Enter Zehnder America
Then Christine learned about Zehnder heat and energy recovery ventilation systems. Unlike her existing energy recovery ventilator that was attached to the furnace, Zehnder products are far more effective because they use dedicated ductwork, are commissioned to ensure specific airflow rates, and are the most energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators on the market.
Despite consulting with numerous local HVAC contractors to resolve their air quality issues, Christine was disappointed that none of them were familiar with Zehnder products and effective ventilation strategies to rectify their issues. Ironically, Zehnder America’s headquarters are just ten minutes away from the Mastrangelo’s home, yet she became aware of Zehnder products when learning about a high-efficiency project in California.
The family installed a Zehnder ComfoAir 200 energy recovery ventilator with Zehnder ComfoWell filtration and dedicated ComfoFresh distribution ducts and diffusers throughout the second floor. They also removed the ineffective ventilator system on their furnace.
Despite the need to install dedicated ventilation tubing, the system was relatively simple to install, and Christine’s husband helped with the installation. The Zehnder ventilator supplies a constant stream of fresh, filtered air to the bedrooms and exhausts stale, contaminated air from two bathrooms and a storage area. The ComfoAir 200 is certified as 86 percent efficient by the Passive House Institute because the system captures heat from the exhaust air and transfers it to the intake air. This saves energy and boosts home comfort.
“Installing the Zehnder energy recovery ventilator has been life-changing for our family,” says Christine. “Our house smells like fresh air even when the windows are closed.”
As someone dedicated to healthy living, Christine is concerned by the lack of fresh air and indoor air quality in many homes