Whole-House Ventilation Indications and Options

Homes today are built with tighter seals than ever before to prevent air exchange with the outdoors. While a tight seal will reduce the transfer of heat into or out of your home for lower heating and cooling bills, it can also trap airborne contaminants in your home and reduce your indoor air quality. If you notice signs that your home could benefit from improved ventilation, your Columbus HVAC expert can help you choose and install the right whole-house ventilation system for your needs.

Signs You Need Ventilation

Poor air exchange with the outdoor environment can cause allergens and other airborne pollutants to build up inside your home. These pollutants include pollen, dust, animal dander and organic compounds emitted by certain chemicals, finishes, and manufactured products. As more pollutants build up inside your home, they can cause the air quality to suffer, exacerbating allergies and asthma. Signs that your Columbus home could benefit from enhanced ventilation include the constant buildup of dust even after cleaning, excessive humidity in your home during the summer, and lingering cooking or cleaning odors. Excessive dust is a sign of negative pressure in your home, which occurs when more air leaves the home than can quickly be replaced. As your home tries to draw in fresh air to replace the air that has been lost, it may come from areas such as flues and ventilation attached to your fireplace, furnace, or water heater, rather than from a fresh air intake—especially if your home does not have a sufficient number or size of intake vents.

Types of Ventilation

Whole-house ventilation systems mechanically pull fresh air into your home. These systems can increase your home's energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality. There are four types of ventilation systems: exhaust systems, supply systems, balanced systems, and energy or heat recovery systems. Exhaust systems are frequently used in colder climates. This type of ventilation system uses a fan to draw air out through a single ventilation shaft, which may be connected to multiple ducts inside the home. Fresh air is drawn in through passive vents mounted in windows or walls. Supply ventilation systems work like exhaust systems in reverse—fresh air is drawn into the home via a fan, while air leaves the home through passive vents. These systems can filter incoming air to remove dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles for improved indoor air quality, but they work best in climates that are primarily warm. A balanced ventilation system uses fans to both draw air into your home and push air out, thus balancing air intake and output. Balanced ventilation systems are appropriate for all climates. Energy recovery and heat recovery ventilation systems provide ventilation while also minimizing energy loss to reduce heating and cooling costs. These ventilation systems use a heat exchanger that transfers heat and humidity to keep the conditions inside your home more constant. An energy or heat recovery ventilation system can recycle as much as 70-80% of the energy in the air leaving your home and are best suited for climates with more extreme summer highs and winter lows.

Could your home benefit from a whole-home ventilation system to improve indoor air quality and comfort? Click through our website to find out more about the heating, cooling, and ventilation options we offer in the Columbus area. Check out the other articles on our blog to learn more about how you can save energy by selecting the right HVAC system for your needs.
Categories: HVAC