Friday, November 23, 2012

Do You Need to Upgrade Your Ventilation?

The average family produces 10 to 50 litres of moisture a day from cooking, bathing, washing dishes and other activities. A house that doesn't breathe can trap this moisture and develop humidity damage and mold issues. In addition, without adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide can collect in your home.




Upgrading your ventilation could be as simple as replacing your bathroom fan and following some guidelines for good air circulation practices.

Cost savings

While mechanical ventilation does require energy, it is likely to save you money down the road. A poorly ventilated house is prone to rot and the occupants are more likely to suffer from allergies and other respiratory ailments. In addition, it takes more energy to heat wet air.

Health & comfort

For a healthy and comfortable indoor environment, air needs to circulate throughout the living space and be exchanged with fresh outside air. Proper ventilation can reduce mold, lessen the risk of carbon monoxide build-up and allow for energy-efficient air circulation.

Environmental considerations

Use a timer or dehumidistat with your fan to maximize energy efficiency by turning the fan on when it needs to be, but off when it doesn't.

What you need to know

  • Efficient air exchange is best achieved through controlled mechanical ventilation. There are simple and effective ways to ensure you and your house breathe easily.
  • Invest in new range and bathroom fans if yours are old. New fans are far more efficient – and much quieter!
  • Ensure all fans vent outside your house, not into your attic or exterior walls.
  • Have an electrician install a dehumidistat in your bathroom. These devices can be set to automatically turn the fan on when moisture levels get high.
  • A great and fairly inexpensive way to ventilate your home is to invest in a bathroom fan with a timer and variable fan settings. You can set the fan to go on for a few hours a day when ventilation needs are high, like during the shoulder seasons when outside and inside air are similar in temperature.
  • If you use your bathroom fan as your home exhaust, undercut the bathroom door to ensure that air can flow through from the rest of the house.
  • A Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) is a great upgrade to a ventilation system. HRVs use heat from exhausted air to preheat incoming fresh air, making your ventilation far more energy efficient. In many homes, you can retrofit a heat recovery ventilator fairly easily. Ask your electrician or home energy auditor if this would be a good product for you.
  • Natural Resources Canada provides some good information on heat recovery ventilators and an introduction to mechanical ventilation in general.
  • If you are installing a new heating system, ensure it includes ventilation as well. Many new systems efficiently cover all your climate control needs.
  • The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website has an informative section on Indoor Air Quality issues.


Can I just open a window to circulate fresh air?
Mechanical ventilation is far more efficient than opening windows and doors, and works well in all seasons. In fact, year-round energy use in more temperate parts of B.C. is often the same as that in colder places because of people opening windows and doors for fresh air in the shoulder seasons and then having to heat their space back up in the evenings.

Our house is drafty, would that provide enough air circulation?
Drafts are not a healthy or efficient form of ventilation. The air exchange can't be controlled and they are strongest when the difference between the inside and outside air is high. That means on cold nights, you are likely to feel a cold breeze coming into your warm house. Cold drafts can make rooms feel colder than it is and lead to inefficient heating and discomfort. During the shoulder seasons, when indoor and outside temperatures are more similar, you are likely to get very little air exchange.

 Source: BC Hydro
Brought to you by: House Smart Home Improvements 
Call Us Today! 604-585-2020
Post a Comment