Three Ventilation Strategies to ensure the air in your home is safe to breathe.
Proper ventilation is very important in an energy-efficient home. When sealing and caulking to prevent air leaks, you can reduce air leakage to a point that contaminants with known health effects, like formaldehyde or radon, are sealed inside the house. Ventilation also helps control moisture, which can lead to mold growth and damage to the structure of your home.
So, how do you ensure your energy efficient home is ventilated enough?
- Natural ventilation – This is the uncontrolled air movement in and out of the cracks and small holes in your home. When sealing cracks and holes to make our homes more energy efficient, ventilation is necessary to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment.
Natural ventilation is unpredictable and uncontrollable since you can’t rely on it to ventilate your home uniformly. Natural ventilation depends on a home’s airtightness, outdoor temperatures, wind and other factors. During mild weather, some homes may lack sufficient natural ventilation for the removal of pollutants. During windy or extreme weather, a home that hasn’t been air sealed properly will be drafty, uncomfortable and expensive to heat and cool.
- Spot Ventilation – This can improve the effectiveness of natural and whole-house ventilation by removing indoor air pollution or moisture at its source. Spot ventilation includes exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms.
- Whole-House Ventilation – This is typically motivated by concerns that natural ventilation won’t provide adequate air quality even if some areas are controlled by spot ventilation. Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout your home. These systems use one or more fans and duct systems to exhaust stale air and supply fresh air throughout the home.
Ventilation systems come in four types:
- Exhaust Ventilation systems depressurize your home and are usually simple and inexpensive to install.
- Supply ventilation systems pressurize your home and are usually simple and inexpensive to install.
- Balanced ventilation systems introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.
- Energy recovery ventilation systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. This reduces the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the cold supply air. During summer months, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs.
If you’re concerned about your home’s ventilation, talk to your contractor. He can help guide you to the best system for your home.