An adequate ventilation system for a home is more important than ever. As the incentive for energy conservation has resulted in more tightly sealed houses, the amount of air transfer between indoors and outdoors has dramatically declined. That’s not a bad thing. Air leaks in a structure aren’t a reliable source of healthy air exchange anyway, and they may actually contribute to air imbalances that degrade indoor air quality.
This developing trend is why it is a good idea to have your home evaluated with a home performance assessment in order to determine if you have the right balance of ventilation air. Too much and you are wasting energy, too little and air quality can suffer. After any major energy saving project: insulation, sealing, exhaust/ventilation, etc., the home needs to be reevaluated to be sure things remain in balance and new problems are not created.
Given the new realities of energy efficiency and airtight construction, here are answers to a few of the challenges posed by inadequate ventilation:
- Indoor air quality - Airborne contaminants accumulate and concentrate in tightly sealed homes. A mechanical ventilation system designed for that purpose and sized to your home’s requirements answers these concerns. Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) utilize dedicated ductwork to remove stagnant indoor air and replace it with fresh outdoor air in exactly equal volumes, preserving the neutral air balance in rooms. In summer, these units extract heat from incoming air and disperse it into exhaust air to prevent loss of cooling from the home and reverse the process in winter.
- Back-drafting - Safe operation of gas-fired appliances like water heaters requires venting combustion gases like carbon monoxide out of the house. When appliances draw combustion air from within the home, however, fluctuations in indoor air balance may reverse the process and draw dangerous combustion by-products back into the house instead of exhausting them. Installing appliances with sealed enclosures featuring dedicated air intake and exhaust vents prevents hazardous back-drafting.
- Excess humidity - A ventilated home is drier and more comfortable. However, oversized or undersized A/C units don’t extract humidity efficiently. In addition, houses with installed moisture barriers, located in climates that don’t really warrant it, accumulate excessive interior humidity. Properly matching air conditioning capacity to the home’s cooling load and use of an ERV or HRV ventilation system to exhaust stagnant humid air restores interior comfort and air quality.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling keeps Cleveland comfortable through all seasons. Ask us about a ventilation system to restore healthy air quality in your home while maintaining energy efficiency goals.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.