Isn’t it great? Your modern, tightly built house retains heat in the winter and keeps it out in the summer, saving you money on your utility bills while enhancing your indoor comfort.
In reality, this is only great as long as your heating and air conditioning is complemented by effective air exchange, otherwise known as ventilation. Without proper ventilating strategies, a tightly built home will become stuffy, with stale, often contaminated air trapped for days at a time.
This wasn’t a major issue in the old days when home construction didn’t focus as much on energy efficiency and tight building practices. In most cases, air exchange happened incidentally, with fresh air infiltrating through gaps and cracks in the home’s outside perimeter.
Nowadays, ventilation is common in the following areas of a modern home:
In the bathroom, an exhaust fan removes smelly, contaminated air, along the with moisture that fogs the mirrors.
In most kitchens, the stove is equipped with an exhaust fan that removes smells and airborne particulates produced during food preparation and cooking. (Both kitchen and bathroom fans predate the modern era of tight construction, since they’re internal fans, without any connection to external air leakage.)
Attic ventilation – using both dedicated vents and in some cases powerful attic fans – plays an essential role in homes throughout the year. In the summer, without effective air exchange, heat builds up in the attic during hot days, and eventually will seep into the living spaces on the lower floors. This forces your HVAC system to work harder and consume more energy in order to keep your home comfortable. Similarly, for loft or attic bedrooms, effective air exchange is essential.
Whole-house ventilation is common in today’s homes, either with supply-only or balanced ventilation systems. In the latter case, Heat Recovery and Energy Recovery Ventilators (HRV/ERVs) replace dirty indoor air with fresh outside air, while also transferring heat energy and moisture (in the case of ERVs) between parallel air streams.
To discuss a plan for effectively ventilating your Silicon Valley home, please contact us at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).