Automating Indoor Air Quality


Do you know how to make your indoor air quality better?

Do you know when to turn on the bath fan and for how long? Are you using your rangehood properly? Can you sense when your home has too much CO2 or volatile organic compounds in the air?
If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, keep reading.
Many different products help you solve individual indoor air quality problems inside your home. Exhaust ventilation fans remove pollutants from bathrooms and range hoods to do the same in kitchens. Fresh air systems remove contaminants from your entire home and bring fresh air in.
But you're required to operate all those indoor air quality systems yourself. You have to, for example, turn on the bath fan and remember to turn it off at the right time. You are also responsible for remembering to turn on your range hood before you start cooking and turn it off 20 minutes after you're done.
That's a lot to expect when you are not an expert. And, unlike an oil change, there isn't a rule of thumb we all know to follow, nor is there a technician telling you when to do it.

How do you make sure your indoor air quality is good and remains good?

One word: automation.
We're making indoor air quality an automated process through a small handful of products and an app that, together, we call Overture™.
An overture is a prelude to something more complex. Our system is an IAQ monitoring system first. It tells you about your IAQ. But then it works magic and combines your home's ventilation systems to eliminate bad air and bring in fresh, filtered air. It's the overture to whole home ventilation.
How we live in our homes today is totally different than even ten or twenty years ago, from construction techniques to our habits and time spent in our homes. So, we need to find a better way to manage the air in our homes. That way is Overture™ Automated Indoor Air Quality System.

What, exactly, is happening in our homes?

We're building and remodeling our homes to be more airtight. Think about all the window commercials you see on TV. "Buy these windows because they are energy efficient and keep out the cold or heat." This is great for our energy bill, but we're locking in bad air. We have particles floating around, off-gassing from the carpet and new mattress, humidity from the shower, odors from laundry baskets and pets, and so on. For those that love to cook, fumes, smoke, and moisture are coming off the range.

How do we solve poor indoor air quality?

We solve poor indoor air quality with ventilation. Fortunately, most of us have the necessary ventilation equipment to take care of it. We have bathroom ventilation fans in our bathrooms, range hoods in our kitchens, and probably some exhaust fans in other rooms. We might even have fresh air systems like an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) or supply fan. But almost all of those require someone to turn them on and off. They also assume we know when to turn them on and off. Which is likely why we don't.
We don't use the ventilation systems we have today for many reasons. One piece of it is probably annoyance. Flipping a switch or turning something on and off is a chore. People aren't in the habit of turning their home's ventilation on and off when their indoor air quality is poor.
Another issue is that most people don't know when to turn ventilation off. Let's say you're taking a shower, for example. Do you know when to turn the bath fan off, assuming you turned it on? Probably not. People are notoriously bad at detecting the stuff in the air. We can sense odors, but even then, we can become desensitized. Think about your own home. You don't know what it smells like, but you definitely know what your friends' homes smell like. The same applies to moisture, small particles, volatile organic compounds, and viruses. We can only detect a tiny portion of that. If you can walk into your house and smell anything, good or bad, you likely have poor indoor air quality.

How does Overture™ solve poor indoor air quality for me?

Overture takes the human element out of the equation and uses smart monitors and controls to measure these pollution levels accurately. It monitors for relative humidity, total volatile organic compounds (chemicals), tiny particles like dander or pollen, and carbon dioxide. It does that via Smart Room Sensors and Smart Wall Controls. When Overture detects a rise in pollutants, a light on the Smart Room Sensor and Smart Wall Control will turn from green to yellow and then red. When it reaches red, it will turn on the connected ventilation fan (a bathroom fan, for example) to vent that pollutant out of the house while, at the same time, engaging the home's fresh air system to bring in fresh air and exhaust out stale air.

Here's a quick example of how it might work. Let's imagine it's bath time for the kids. You walk into the bathroom, turn on the lights, turn on the bathtub faucet, and fill the tub with hot water. Hot steam fills the room. Your mirror begins to fog over, and you can feel the moisture in the air when the Smart Wall Control suddenly turns red, and your bath fan turns on. You bathe the kids, get them dried off, leave the bathroom, and turn off the lights on your way out. The bath fan continues to run until the humidity level returns to normal. Simultaneously, Overture has engaged the fresh air system, bringing in fresh, filtered air and venting out stale air, keeping the moisture, mold, and mildew at bay.
Bringing in fresh air is great, but what happens when the air outside is worse than the inside? Overture is built to handle that situation. It considers the AQI (Air Quality Index) score, which the EPA uses to say whether or not the outside air is good when deciding the right time to bring in fresh air. This score considers all sorts of pollutants in the outside air, including smoke, smog, high pollen counts, and more.
Overture is a fantastic system that improves indoor air quality and quality of life without requiring you to lift a finger.
To recap:
  • We, the overwhelmed homeowner, don't know how to ventilate our homes.
  • We need to figure out when to ventilate our homes.
  • Overture does both for us.
Want to learn more about how Overture™ can improve your indoor air quality and quality of life? Check out these YouTube videos and the Overture section of our website.
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