THE IMPORTANCE OF VENTILATION
Homeowners spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, making clean indoor air quality essential for a healthy environment. In fact, indoor air pollution can cause greater health risks to occupants than outdoor air, even in highly industrial or congested areas. Proper ventilation protects a home from unwanted toxins, pollutants, and odors and can also help protect the overall structure of a home or building by eliminating excess moisture from the air.
Learn more about the importance of healthy indoor air from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Without a proper ventilation system, a home or building is more vulnerable to potentially dangerous pollutants such as carbon monoxide and radon and volatile organics (VOCs). VOCs are gases emitted from many common household items, such as wall coverings, paint, furniture, and cleaning supplies.
VOCs contain a variety of chemicals, many of which can have adverse health effects. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concentrations of potentially harmful VOCs are consistently up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors.
Uncontrolled moisture can also lead to the growth of mold or mildew and may contribute to the proliferation of pests such as dust mites.
In a poorly ventilated home, higher utility bills and extended costs from rotting window sills and attic eaves, paint peeking, and insect infestations are also more likely.
WHERE DOES YOUR HOME FIT IN?
Older construction homes often have leaks in their building envelopes, windows, and doors. This allows fresh air to easily enter and exit the home, but results in substantial energy loss by allowing warmed or cooled air to escape. Heating and cooling systems have to work harder to keep the home at a comfortable temperature, driving energy costs up.
Newer, energy efficient homes are built very tight to eliminate the natural leaks found in old homes and reduce energy costs. While these homes adhere to higher energy standards, they are often built so tight that little fresh air can enter the home. This can result in poor indoor air quality as harmful pollutants, such as volatile organics (VOCs), carbon dioxide, and potentially dangerous levels of moisture are trapped inside the home.
New, energy efficient homes with mechanical ventilation are the ultimate solution for safe and healthy indoor air quality. By adding AirCycler® mechanical ventilation products to a home, the homeowner gains the ability to control how much fresh air is allowed to enter and circulate in the home. The potentially harmful effects of under-ventilation are eliminated and energy efficiency is preserved.
ENERGY COSTS & MECHANICAL VENTILATION
When using mechanical ventilation, unconditioned fresh air - air that has not been heated or cooled - is brought into the home. Many homeowners share the concern that bringing hot air into the home during the warmer months, or cold air into the home during colder months, will force their heating and cooling systems to work harder and drive up energy costs. While it is a valid concern, the cost to condition the fresh air coming into your home is actually very minimal. In fact, the average cost is $3 per month, or $36 per year. This number varies slightly of course, depending on your climate and electric costs, but remains an affordable option for maintaining a healthy home environment.
Want an estimate of how much it will cost to run an AirCycler® in your home? Use our Ventilation Cost Calculator
Learn more about the Cost of Ventilation - By Paul Raymer, Heyoka Solutions
TYPES OF VENTILATION
Natural ventilation occurs when air enters a home through cracks or small holes in the building envelope. Natural ventilation also happens when doors and windows are open. Natural ventilation was the most common ventilation in older homes, but it is not typical in new construction. New homes are tightly sealed and focus on energy efficiency; often, windows and doors aren’t even opened when central heating and cooling systems are in use.
Natural ventilation is unpredictable and uncontrollable. It varies according to outdoor temperatures, wind speed, and how tightly a home is sealed. There is typically a trade-off between the amount of natural ventilation and the energy efficiency of a home. In addition, natural ventilation does not deliver uniform airflow and may not provide sufficient moisture control.
Spot ventilation can be very effective because it removes pollutants and moisture in a specific place or at their source. It is an important tool to improve indoor air quality. With spot ventilation, exhaust fans are installed in kitchens, bathrooms and garages. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends using exhaust fans for intermittent or continuous ventilation, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.
SmartExhaust™ Exhaust Fan/Light Ventilation Control & Delay Timer
Whole House Ventilation
A Whole House ventilation system provides a uniform ventilation strategy throughout an entire home at a rate that can be controlled to meet fresh air requirements. This type of system is used when either or both natural or spot ventilation are not sufficient to maintain indoor air quality at a level that is healthy for both the home and its occupants. Whole house ventilation systems utilize fans and duct systems that exhaust stale indoor air and/or supply fresh outdoor air into the home.
There are four types of Whole House ventilation systems: Exhaust, Supply, Balanced, and Energy Recovery. Exhaust systems remove stale indoor air, while Supply systems introduce fresh air from outside. Balanced Ventilation systems exhaust stale air while simultaneously introducing fresh air from outside. The AirCycler® g2 system is the only Hybrid Whole House ventilation system that combines both Exhaust and Supply ventilation, and can provide Balanced if desired.
Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems transfer some of the heat energy from the outgoing stale air into the incoming fresh air.
Interested in comparing how much it would cost you to run these different systems in your home?
Use our Annual Ventilaton Cost Calculator
In today’s more energy efficient homes, it is especially important to make sure that there is adequate ventilation to remove air pollutants and reduce moisture and odors. When natural ventilation alone is not sufficiently effective, the addition of spot ventilation can help improve air quality. When a home needs more than natural and spot ventilation, Whole House ventilation systems are the solution to maintain superior indoor air quality and flow.