Ventilation is simply the act of your house breathing. Improved building standards have made our homes more energy efficient taking into consideration how the building is heated/cooled and how it breaths. There are many homes on the market that have various breathing problems, identify the symptoms and diagnose a cure, for your families sake.
Most of the time we take the air we breathe for granted. People do not always realize all of the potential pollutants in our homes which can contribute to an unhealthy environment. Some common pollutants come from, people, pets, and contents of the furniture, even building materials commonly found in homes could be making us sick.
In the process of purchasing a home, we often focus on the ascetics, size, location and features of the building. Good ventilation is typically not on the top of our list of considerations and can often be masked with fragrant candles during viewings. Professional home inspectors look beyond what an enthused home owner sees and will identify concerns with respect to poor home air quality and much more.
Mechanical ventilation is simply a process to remove excessive moisture and stale, unhealthy air from your home and replace it with fresh air. There are many ways to accomplish this and the best choices will do it automatically. A properly designed and installed ventilation system will provide a healthier environment. Install a proper ventilation system to reduce maintenance costs and quite often increase the homes value.
Three major issues that a mechanical ventilation system will correct:
Too much moisture can contribute to allergy problems and structural damage by encouraging the growth of mould, mildew, bacteria, dust mites, dry rot and insects. Showers, humidity, cooking and people produce large quantities of moisture on a daily basis.
Common household chemicals and pollutants
Products like cleaning supplies, paints and solvents, formaldehyde from furniture, carpet and building materials and other volatile organic compounds contribute to poor air quality. Airborne particles like pet dander, dust mites, pollen and by-products from cooking like grease and smoke also contribute. Exhaust fumes create a very common air problem and potentially dangerous situation. These typically are caused by fuel burning equipment like fireplaces, gas water heaters, woodstoves and even candles. Another potential danger area in our homes is the attached garage and the possibility of Carbon Monoxide.
Attics and crawl spaces can overheat from long summer days, and excess moisture can accumulate in the winter. Attic ventilation systems and components are designed to, remove excess heat, lowering attic temperatures and removing moisture.
Good home ventilation strategies include:
- Intermittent local ventilation – Used in the bathroom, kitchen and other moisture-, odour- and contaminant-producing areas.
- Continuous whole-house ventilation – These will remove stale, polluted air and distribute fresh, outdoor air throughout the house.
- Attic and crawlspace ventilation – This will help protect attics and crawlspaces from excessive heat and moisture.
You can learn all about proper attic ventilation in our recent article on this subject here.
You can find many home ventilation products at your local building centres. Products like laundry and bathroom exhaust fans and kitchen range hoods. These types of products come designed for easy installation and typically require little maintenance. A little more advanced DIY project is the installation of a mechanical heat recovery system. If you are not sure about what your home needs you can learn more about recommendations for your home at HRAI.
You could also consult with your builder or HVAC contractor to determine the appropriate HVI-Certified products for their particular application. A certified contractor will ensure that products you choose get installed correctly. Make sure you arrange for regularly scheduled system check-ups to verify that the ventilation system is operating effectively.
Your health may depend on good home ventilation, started your project to day by opening a free account at quinju.com