With today’s contractors building tighter and more energy efficient homes, the need for ventilation has increased dramatically. No longer will an open window suffice; today’s homes require purpose built ventilation systems to function properly. Fortunately, good ventilation can often be accomplished inexpensively. Take a minute to browse our ventilation FAQ’s and articles.
Why is ventilation important to me?
As we have improved the energy efficiency of our modern homes (and made upgrades to our older homes), we have created a situation where the by-products of our daily life may become concentrated. These factors include moisture (in the form of humidity) and miscellaneous building pollutants (cleaners, fragrances, cosmetics, and off-gassing from building materials). It is vitally important for every occupied building to maintain a balance between energy efficiency and fresh-air. We often recommend that homes have a complete exchange of air once every 3 hours. This rate is usually sufficient to maintain levels of humidity below 50%, and to dilute the building pollutants sufficiently to prevent irritation to the respiratory system. Common signs of inadequate ventilation include: condensation on windows, doors and toilet tanks, persistent odors, minor to moderate respiratory irritation, chronic sinus infections, and heavy or stale feeling air.
Aren’t portable HEPA filters the best solution?
Portable HEPA filters seem like a good way to promote healthy air, but are deficient in many ways. These filters only service a very small area and do not promote circulation within the building. To effectively filter the air throughout an average size home, 6-10 separate units would be necessary. Obviously, this is not a practical solution. Additionally, these filters are very efficient at removing particulate materials, but do nothing to decrease humidity, VOCs or other gaseous building pollutants. Some of the portable filters available to consumers may actually generate ozone gas, which is known to cause damage and irritation to the respiratory system.
I have allergies; won’t ventilation just bring in more pollen from the outside?
If you choose to ventilate your home via your existing forced air heating system, a solution can be created to pass new air through a high quality filter, thus removing pollens and other particulate allergens before they enter into your breathable air stream.
I have a bathroom fan, but my house still seems humid?
Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry exhaust fans are part of the home’s spot ventilation system. ”Spot ventilation” refers to local, room specific ventilation requirements. Fans in these areas are designed to remove the bulk of humidity in the room where it is being generated. This is an effective solution for moisture generated by cooking, washing, and bathing, but does nothing to address the normal accumulation of moisture due to breathing, mopping etc. Additionally, these fans are often noisy and inconvenient to be run as often as would be necessary to promote good ventilation. Although bathroom exhaust fans may be incorporated into a home’s general ventilation plan, special models that are quiet, energy efficient, and designed for long-term operation must be chosen.