6 Reasons Why Good Home Ventilation is Important
On average, people in the United States spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Since the majority of people’s daily activities take place inside, the atmosphere inside of homes has a major impact on the health and safety of the majority of the population. Research has shown that indoor air pollution can actually have more damaging effects on health than pollution in the air outside. Good home ventilation can help to mitigate these health risks while also protecting the home.
Ventilation Can Help Reduce Condensation
Condensation occurs when humid air is cooled quickly and can no longer hold all of the moisture in the form of water vapor. The moisture migrates to the coldest surface available and condenses, forming water droplets on windows, walls, or other surfaces. If moisture inside of the home is not controlled over time, it can result in peeling wallpaper, mold and mildew formation, and even structural damage to wood supports. Good ventilation can help to regulate temperature and control moisture levels.
Effective in Lowering Concentrations of Radon Gas
Radon gas is a colorless, odorless gas that is formed by the natural decay of uranium in rocks and soil in certain parts of the country. Radon gas has been linked to some cases of lung cancer by the World Health Organization. In homes that are near mines, water treatment facilities, and caves, radon gas may become trapped if there is not adequate ventilation, causing concentrations of the gas to spike. When adequate ventilation is installed, it can reduce radon gas concentrations to healthy levels.
VOC Concentrations Can Be Decreased with Ventilation
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are emissions from household chemicals and furnishings that can become toxic in high concentrations. Storing chemicals properly and being conscientious about the VOC emissions from purchased furnishings and goods is important to reducing the concentration of VOCs in a home. Maintaining adequate ventilation can help to control concentrations of existing VOCs within a home, as it is nearly impossible to eliminate VOCs from indoor air.
Allergens May be Filtered Out of the Home
Allergens such as pollen, dust, and other irritants can become trapped and concentrated inside of a home when ventilation is inadequate. Proper ventilation will help to remove large particles and dust from the air. This can effectively help to reduce allergy symptoms, making the indoor air much more comfortable for allergy sufferers.
Helps Protect Respiratory Health and Prevent Asthma
Damp, moldy conditions can contribute to the development of asthma and other respiratory conditions. Damp conditions can also form a perfect environment for dust mites to survive and multiply. When dust mites come into contact with the skin and respiratory system, it can cause eczema, itching, and breathing problems. Good ventilation can help to prevent these issues while supplying home inhabitants with fresh air.
Reduces Backdrafting Risks
When the pressure inside of the home is lower than the pressure outside of the home, the home is considered to have negative pressure. When a home has negative pressure, outdoor air is pulled into the home, which is called backdrafting. This can become dangerous when combustion gases such as carbon monoxide are pulled back into a chimney or other opening and become concentrated in a home. Ventilation can help to control the pressure inside of a home.
Ventilation without Energy Loss
The one issue that many homeowners have with ventilation is that most natural and even mechanical ventilation system cause the home to lose heat or cool as the inside air is cycled out. An ERV or HRV from Zehnder America can help to bring fresh air into a home and vent stale air and pollutants out without losing heat or cool. Energy is transferred from the outgoing air to the fresh incoming air, saving heating or cooling costs and reducing energy needs.
Home ventilation is important to maintain comfort, health, and indoor air quality in the home. Without proper ventilation, air in the home becomes stagnant, contaminants exist at higher concentrations, and moisture levels can rise, leading to mold and other issues.
Why Is Home Ventilation Important?
Home ventilation is important to keep the house and its occupants healthy and comfortable. Ventilation is a key component to maintaining proper indoor air quality. Ventilation keeps air flowing through the home, eliminating contaminants, moisture buildup, and odors.
Home Ventilation Important for Moisture Control
Moisture can easily build up in a home, caused by natural air infiltration and activities that take place indoors such as showering, cooking, and appliances that use hot water. Without proper ventilation, this moisture builds up within living areas, seeping into walls and sticking to surfaces. This creates an ideal environment for mold growth – exposure to mold is dangerous for your family’s health, and mold growth can cause serious damage to a home.
Exposure to mold caused by poor ventilation can cause health issues such as:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Immune system issues
- Worsening of symptoms in those with autoimmune diseases
- Respiratory damage
Proper ventilation eliminates moisture buildup in the home by keeping air moving. Excess moisture is moved out of living areas to prevent mold growth and damage to structures and furnishings caused by exposure to high moisture levels.
How to Properly Ventilate Your Home
Homes benefit from a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation. Opening windows and doors allows air to flow into and through a home. Even cracks surrounding windows and throughout the home benefit ventilation, though these areas are often sealed in the interest of energy efficiency.
Mechanical ventilation includes exhaust fans, whole home ventilation systems, and the air ducts of your home.
- Exhaust fans allow for targeted ventilation in areas where it is needed most. Run exhaust fans in the bathroom when taking a hot shower to eliminate moisture buildup, and in the kitchen while cooking to remove excess moisture and food odors.
- Whole home ventilation systems work within the air ducts of your home to keep air moving. Exhaust airflow systems extract stale indoor air, moving it outside the home. A supply system draws fresh air into the home. A balanced ventilation system combines the two to expel stagnant air and constantly replace it with fresh air.
Improve the ventilation of your home by ensuring all vents are open and unblocked. It’s not uncommon for a piece of furniture or a rug to be positioned over or in front of supply and return air registers leading to the home’s duct work. When these vents are blocked, conditioned air cannot enter living areas and stale air cannot exit them. Blocking registers diminishes indoor air quality and will make it more difficult for your HVAC system to properly heat or cool the home.
Related Content You May Be Interested In
- Indoor air quality 101
- Home ventilation – 5 signs you need a dehumidifier
- Understanding your HVAC system – heating, air conditioning, and ventilation
- Exhaust fans are essential to home comfort
- How to reduce condensation on windows and other surfaces
Ventilation and Energy Efficiency
In temperate climate zones the emphasis is on providing sufficient heat to maintain a comfortable environment however in hotter climates the emphasis changes to providing sufficient cooling. For the UK, Approved Document L deals with the energy performance of the building and focuses mainly on minimising the amount of heat that is lost through the fabric and construction elements that comprise the building structure. The latest issue of this document encourages greater air tightness in building construction which provides a number of challenges to overcome to provide a healthy indoor environment.
Improving the air tightness of a building will reduce the amount of energy required to heat or cool the occupants inside however it carries the risk of a build-up of contaminants inside. High levels of humidity can lead to mould growth which can lead to respiratory conditions such as asthma. This has led the ventilation industry to adopt the maxim ‘build tight, ventilate right’. The fewer air leaks a building structure has, the greater the emphasis on finding a solution that provides adequate ventilation to avoid unhealthy conditions. When minimising leaks and controlling the path the air takes to ventilate a building, consideration is needed to determine how much resistance there is in the system to deliver the required flow rate