Home Ventilation 101: Key Facts That You Should Know Meta-description: Everything you wanted to know about home ventilation is explained in this article
Whether building a new home or purchasing one that’s been around for decades, it makes sense to pay attention to the way the structure is ventilated. It’s not just about making sure the air inside the home is free of any offending odors. There are compelling reasons why ventilation matters on a number of levels.
How much do you know about home ventilation and why it’s so important? Here are some of the essentials that will help you get started, including what should be done if your home needs some ventilation upgrades.
What is Meant by Home Ventilation?
Home ventilation refers to a collection of strategies designed to allow a reasonable exchange between the air inside a dwelling and the air that’s found outside. When the plan for ventilation is designed properly, that exchange is controlled and to some degree constant. The process of designing an effective home ventilation strategy will involve factors such as construction, the placement of key devices, and the maintenance of the equipment used to ensure that proper ventilation is present at all times.
Is Home Ventilation All That Important?
What makes home ventilation such an important aspect of home design and function? A proper approach will help remove toxins from the air inside. It will also aid in maintaining a more energy-efficient dwelling. In terms of health, proper ventilation can minimize the risk for a number of ailments. Don’t overlook the fact that the right approach can also help reduce the presence of excess moisture in the home.
All these factors combine to ensure that you and your family enjoy a higher quality of life. They also protect the market value of the home. A house with proper ventilation will likely attract more attention and command better offers when you decide to offer the property for sale.
What Can Happen Without Proper Ventilation?
Quite a few things can happen if a home is lacking proper ventilation. In terms of structural damage, the house is at a greater risk of mold and mildew. With the right ventilation equipment in place, there is a lower chance of mold developing in basements, attics, and in the walls of the home. Mold that remains undetected can weaken floor and ceilings joists, and pave the way for some serious repairs.
Mildew occurs when moisture settled in different types of personal items like clothing. That can lead to having to discard items that would have otherwise served a purpose for many years.
From a health perspective, the presence of mold can trigger a number of health issues. Along with respiratory problems, mold may also pave the way for issues with other vital organs. Exposure over long periods of time can lead to poor health that may not be easily reversed.
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much ventilation. That means there is more air seepage than needed to keep the home dry, free of odors, and remove toxins like carbon monoxide from the interior. This may be evidenced by higher heating and cooling bills, condensation on the window panes, or mildew developing on the shower curtain. If any of those signs are present, it’s time to rethink the ventilation strategy and make some adjustments.
What’s the Difference Between Whole-Home Ventilation and Spot Ventilation?
Whole-home ventilation is a term used to identify strategies that help to maintain a reasonable level of humidity, dryness, and odor control through most areas of the home. When the right equipment is used, those areas are less likely to collect dust quickly or retain stale odors. The right system helps to compensate for factors that would otherwise lower the overall air quality. For example, a contractor would design a whole-house solution a little differently if the property owners kept pets inside the home.
Spot ventilation is designed to work in tandem with a whole-home solution. Essentially, this strategy is used in areas that need special attention. The bathroom is an excellent example, since the combination of moisture in the air after showers as well as collection points for odors is present within that space. In some cases, installing what’s known as a bath fan can help to remove excess moisture and remove odors that would otherwise linger in the space.
Does Window Placement Have Anything to Do With Ventilation?
With new construction and in many older homes, windows are positioned so that they can be opened and allow a cross-breeze to flow through one or more rooms. The idea is that by allowing breezes into some windows, airborne contaminants can be expelled through other windows. In this sense, window placement does matter to the process of proper home ventilation.
While there are likely to be certain times of the year when opening the windows is practical, that’s not the case year round. In order to properly ventilate the space, other options must be in place. That makes it possible to properly ventilate a home even if the temperature is freezing and there’s snow on the ground.
What are Some Devices Designed to Aid in Home Ventilation?
There are a number of devices that can be used to help properly ventilate the home. Some of them may be included in the design of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Others may be stand-alone devices that can be activated on an as-needed basis. Here are some examples to consider:
*Bath fans are one of the most common devices used for home ventilation. The basic function is to draw air out of the bathroom and expel it to the outside. This device makes it easier to get rid of excess moisture as well as remove odors from the space.
Older bath ventilators typically had to be activated by flipping a switch. Models on the market today can include motion sensors that automatically turn on the fan when anyone enters the space. They continue to run for a set period of time after the person exits the bathroom. There are also models that are equipped with heaters and other features that help to make the space more comfortable.
*Attic ventilators are also a common element of new construction. They are also found in older homes that have been remodeled. The primary purpose is to remove heat and humidity from the space. This helps to lower the temperature in the attic during the warmer seasons. This in turn makes it easier for a HVAC system to control the temperature found in the stories below the attic.
Removing humidity from the attic also helps to reduce the risk of mold developing along the rafters and other parts of the space. That in turn minimizes the risk of damage to anything stored in the attic while helping to maintain a healthy air quality. Today’s attic ventilators may be powered with the use of electricity or solar power. There are also models, sometimes referred to as whirlybirds, that are capable of operating using the wind.
*Inline fans are examples of ventilation equipment that’s likely to be found in the duct system of your HVAC network. The main purpose is to direct and eject stale air that may contain different types of contaminants. These fans are usually positioned at strategic points where sections of the duct work meet, or where installing some sort of exhaust fan is not practical.
Does Professional Installation Make Any Difference?
Opting for a professional installation is important with any type of ventilation equipment. A certified contractor with a heating and cooling service will know how to select a device with the right features and power. A professional installation also ensures that the manufacturer warranty remains in full effect.
Some types of ventilation equipment must meet local building codes and safety standards. The contractor will be aware of those qualifications and be prepared to ensure everything is in full compliance. Hire a professional and you are at a lower risk of ending up paying fines or having to hire someone to redo what you tried to do on your own.
How Often Should Home Ventilation Devices Be Inspected?
Care and maintenance of home ventilation devices is essential. Establishing a service contract that includes attention to those devices is something that you want to do. This makes it possible to have a professional inspect them on a regular basis. Generally, a full inspection at least once a year is a good idea. During that time, a thorough cleaning is also in order.
Leave the inspection in the hands of a contractor with a local heating and cooling service. There will be no doubt about what needs to be checked or what sort of maintenance or repairs are necessary. Consider the inspection to be an investment in your health as well as protecting the home from certain types of structural damage.
If Something Needs Replacing Who Should I Call?
Since you opted for a professional installation, call the company that handled the initial work. Securing a service contract makes that all the easier to manage. If any unit needs replacing, that team will know what to get, go over options with you, and ensure that the installation is done properly.
Take home ventilation seriously. It can impact every part of your life, as well as the investment that you’ve made in the home. By practicing a little diligence now, you will reap rewards in terms of fewer health threats, less potential damage to the home, and the pleasure of breathing air that smells fresher and makes your space more comfortable.