Ventilating Your Home for Winter.
Winter is usually the time of year when we start to scrutinize indoor air quality. This is because we spend more time inside and try to save money and energy by thoroughly sealing off our homes from cold outside air.
While energy conservation is a laudable goal, you must remember to properly ventilate your home so you are not constantly circulating stale, unhealthy air. Below is an overview of ventilation technology and how it’s used to control the flow of air through your home:
Exhaust Ventilation: an exhaust fan expels stale air and built up moisture from a particular area. It does a decent job at getting rid of stale air, but it’s exhaust only — meaning it doesn’t have the ability to pull in fresh air from the outside.
This type of ventilation can create negative pressure inside the home, resulting in cold air being drawn into your home through cracks and gaps at windows and doors.
Supply Ventilation: A potential fix to negative pressure buildup is to install a supply-only ventilation system. This will bring in fresh air, allowing the home’s interior pressure to achieve an optimal balance. Supply-only ventilation can be hooked up to your forced air system, allowing fresh air to get dispersed via your duct system.
One problem that may develop is the introduction of high humidity into the home, especially in areas where you already have a moisture/condensation problem.
Balanced Ventilation: For well, sealed, energy efficient homes and custom-designed balanced ventilation system is the right way to go. This type of ventilation combines the benefits of exhaust and supply ventilation into one system.
With a balanced ventilation system, you can choose where the exhaust air is drawn, where fresh air comes from and where it is delivered to; allowing for the ideal balance for your home.
Recovery Ventilation (HRV): Heat recovery ventilators are installed directly into the ventilation system. This unique air-to-air heat exchanger uses the conditioned air that leaves the house to help precondition the air coming in.
They are typically used in colder climates, but they can also remove heat from incoming air during the summer months. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is used in hotter, more humid climates.