One of the keys to keeping a healthy indoor environment is maintaining adequate ventilation. Too little air movement can cause a number of health issues, so ventilation is important. Below is more information about whole-house ventilation and the most common options available to homeowners.
Benefits of Whole-House Ventilation
Modern homes are better insulated than homes of the past, and better insulation contributes to decreased energy costs. Ironically enough, the improvements in insulation have also had a negative secondary effect: homes of today are tightly sealed off from the outdoor air.
While insulation may assist you in keeping your home’s temperature level stable, it limits the amount of free circulating air. As a consequence, air can become stale and unhealthy.
The solution to the problem is the addition of a whole-house ventilation system. A whole-house ventilation system is an integrated solution to the problem of poor ventilation. Such a system can be installed in conjunction with an existing heating and cooling system, or it can be used on a standalone basis.
Your Options for Whole-House Ventilation
There are two major options when it comes to whole-house ventilation. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so deciding which option to select depends upon your budget and preferences.
An exhaust ventilation system is the least expensive and the simplest of whole-house ventilation options. It provides ventilation to the entire house by pulling fresh air into the home.
This system usually uses an exhaust fan to blow air out of the home via a roof vent; fresh air enters through natural gaps and other tiny cracks and crevices in the walls, in the roof, in the basement, and around windows and doors.
Due to the simplicity and moderate price level of the exhaust ventilation system, it is popular with homeowners who want to improve ventilation. Exhaust ventilation systems can work well, especially in drier climates where moisture intrusion isn’t as much of a problem as it is in damp, humid areas.
However, exhaust ventilation systems possess a few downsides that are important to consider. First, exhaust ventilation systems pull in outside air from all areas around a house. That means there is no ability to control the quality of the air entering the house.
Second, exhaust ventilation systems can contribute to serious mold problems, especially if the outside air is chronically damp. Too much mold can contribute to respiratory illnesses and may also cause damage to the home.
In a supply whole-house ventilation system, exterior air isn’t pulled into the home, as is the case with exhaust ventilation systems. Instead, a fan pushes fresh air into the home, and stale air is forced to exit via the cracks and crevices used by a supply system. In essence, a supply ventilation and exhaust ventilation system work in opposite ways.
Though it costs more than an exhaust ventilation system, a supply ventilation system offers a couple of key advantages. First, by being able to select the air intake location, a supply ventilation system ensures only the cleanest outside air is admitted into the home.
Second, a filter can be installed in conjunction with the intake, a step that further refines the incoming air quality. Supply ventilation systems are also able to be tied into existing heating and cooling systems, which can further control air quality and temperature.
If you have questions about whole house ventilation, but you aren’t sure who to ask, contact Custom Comfort Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. for assistance. We can provide you with guidance regarding your options and what type of system is best for your home and your family.