Higher energy prices have led to the development and installation of energy efficient windows and doors throughout our homes. While this helps to lower utility bills and maintain a comfortable, draft-free indoor environment, there are disadvantages to living and working in airtight settings. Without proper ventilation, air becomes trapped inside a room and will quickly turn stale and dirty. In addition, harmful contaminants will build up and can lead to an unsanitary levels of air inside your home.
During warmer months, natural ventilation is available by simply opening windows and doors. However, when the weather gets too hot or too cold, your home needs assistance when it comes to healthy indoor air quality. The good news is that a wide range of home ventilation options are available to River Oaks area homeowners.
Exhaust ventilation is commonly found in the kitchen via the stovetop fan and the bathroom. Work areas and basements may also be equipped with exhaust ventilation to remove potentially hazardous air. Exhaust-exclusive ventilation, though, doesn’t work well for whole-house ventilation.
Advantages of exhaust home ventilation include its relatively low cost and its effectiveness at removing moisture and preventing condensation during cold weather. A significant disadvantage is that you don’t know where the air that’s rushing in to replace the exhausted air is coming from. It might be contaminated air from the attic, garage or crawl space. You have no control over how that air is distributed inside your home, and you can’t filter that air as it enters your home.
In supply-only ventilation, a fan draws in outside air from a known location, then distributes it inside the house. This addresses some of the negative issues that come with exhaust ventilation. You know the origin of the ventilating air, and it can be filtered before getting circulated in the house.
Supply ventilation is more sophisticated and costly than basic exhaust-only ventilation. It requires controls, fans and ductwork. It also comes in several different types – standalone supply, central fan integrated supply (CFIS) and a dehumidification ventilation system.
Supply Ventilation Types
- With standalone supply home ventilation, a fan sucks outside air into the house. In winter or summer, this can be an impractical option unless you warm up the cold air (or vice versa) before the air circulates in your home. This is done by mixing the incoming air with household air before the air distribution.
- The CFIS ventilation system, often seen in hot and humid regions of the country, uses the home’s central A/C or heating system air handler or blower. Outside air, routed inside by ducts, mixes with household air in the return ductwork and then gets filtered and conditioned before being circulated in the home.These systems should have a closable duct damper so the duct won’t let unconditioned outside air infiltrate directly into the home (or escape in the winter).
- The ventilating dehumidifier is a good choice in humid climates. It operates similarly to a standalone supply system, except with a dehumidification component. Two ducts drawing in air from outside and inside mix in a box. The box contains a dehumidifier that will remove moisture from the humid air during the ventilation process. Another duct sends that mixed air into the house.
Balanced Home Ventilation
This is the best choice if you can afford it. Balanced airflow is accomplished when air moves in and out of the house at the same time. As a result, there’s no negative effect on air pressure in the house. The most effective ventilation systems don’t result in unbalanced air pressure, which can reduce indoor air quality and compromise comfort.
The most well-known balanced ventilation systems are heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). These systems carry two parallel airstreams, incoming and outgoing. During this process, they exchange heat (the HRV) or both heat and moisture (ERV).
During the summer, heat in the outflowing warm air gets shifted to the inflowing cold air. This allows the system to ventilate your home while helping the heating system condition the air at a lower cost. In addition to the heat, an ERV transfers moisture in the outflowing air to the incoming cold air. This helps mitigate dry winter air in cold climates. In the summer, heat energy is removed from incoming air and transferred to the outgoing air.
For more information about effective and comfortable home ventilation, please contact us at Conditioned Air TX. We’re proud to serve homeowners in River Oaks and the surrounding area.