The Clean Air Chronicles - Andrew's House

Watch Andrew's story

As a participant in the first ROCIS LCMP cohort, Andrew discovered the particle levels in his home were quite high. Over the next two years, he engaged in a series of improvements including air sealing, installing a vented range hood, and modifying his home’s air handler so it could be used for filtration. Some of the results from these interventions are detailed below.

Andrew in his house with title Indoor vs Outdoor Particle Levels

Intervention Summary

Problem as Found

  • Among the initial LCMP participants, Andrew’s house had one of the highest particle counts. There was no single contributing factor.

Solution & Results

  • Over the next two years, Andrew engaged in a series of improvements including air sealing, installing a vented range hood, and modifying his home’s air handler so it could be used for filtration.
  • The HVAC system modification had the greatest impact on indoor air quality.


Looking for ways to reduce his family’s exposure to cooking emissions, Andrew decided to add a ducted range hood over his stove. Since Andrew’s stove was against an interior wall, he had to run the ductwork through the house to reach the outdoors. He opted to do this work at the same time as other home improvement projects for minimal disruption. 

For more information about vented hoods, see the ROCIS Kitchen Range Hood recommendations.

image of range hood vent captioned Air is vented outside, avoid 90 degree bendsRange Hood; Installation guide image showing hood extending to front of stove and 32 inches or less above range

ROCIS helped Andrew retrofit his air handler to be able to run continuously while his family was in the house. Notice the improvement in the house's air quality after implementing the air handler intervention, moving from the poor to the very good range on the Dylos small particle scale.


Dylos small particles line graph

If an air handler only operates when there is a call for heating or cooling, it does not stay on long enough to truly filter the air. However, many blowers use a lot of energy when set to run continuously and can be costly to operate in this way. In Andrew’s case, 24/7 operation of his air handler would have cost $65/month. With the new ECM motor, the electricity cost was reduced to $10/month.

The chart below shows the watt-draw measurements for all of the residences in our first LCMP cohort. Andrew’s energy use went from among the highest to the lowest overall.

Air Handler Interventions showing Pre/Post Continuous Watt-Draw

Cooking Tips

The Ellsworth family saw large spikes in particles when cooking. There are things you can do to reduce your exposure to this kind of pollution. Check out these cooking tips to learn how.

Read the Cooking Tips PDF

Range Hood Installation

Andrew installed a kitchen range hood to reduce his family's exposure to cooking pollution. What does it take to install an effective range hood? This useful ROCIS guide will walk you through the process.

How to Install Ducted Range Hoods

Low Cost Monitoring Project

Want to learn more about the ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project? Head over to our LCMP page to learn about how you can get involved with our next cohort.

Learn More About the LCMP

Citizen Science: Indoor Air Monitoring

ROCIS team member Samantha Totoni walks you through the LCMP experience and the opportunities it presents to participants.

See the Presentation

Outside/In Radio: Episode 157

LCMP participant Susan Peterson shares her experiences with Pittsburgh air quality and the ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project.

Listen Now

The Breathe Collaborative

The Breathe Collaborative is an organization dedicated to improving the air quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania. They offer a range of tools for monitoring and reporting on local air quality.

Learn MoreVisit the Breathe Collaborative Site