Here’s How to Properly Ventilate Your Home This Winter

winter ventilationWinter ventilation is particularly important for maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Today’s homes are tightly air-sealed and insulated to prevent heat loss in cold conditions. Because these houses get less natural ventilation in the form of infiltrating outdoor air, however, indoor pollutants may concentrate to high levels that can produce allergic reactions or just plain discomfort. To counteract this, mechanical winter ventilation may be utilized to introduce controlled amounts of fresh air into the structure. Here are some typical options:

  • Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, which are probably the most common example of one-way exhaust ventilation in most houses. To exhaust water vapor, odors, and fumes, these small ceiling fans pull air out of the room and exhaust it through a dedicated duct into outdoor air. Slight negative pressure induced by removing humid indoor air from these spaces tends to pull fresh outside air into the house through small structural cracks and gaps. To prevent excessive depressurization, these units are typically controlled by a timer.
  • Balanced ventilation. These systems utilize an intake and exhaust fan, each connected to dedicated ductwork. The intake and exhaust ducts are routed to specific living spaces, adding fresh outdoor air to one area while removing an equal volume of stale indoor air from another area. This preserves neutral air balance inside the house while providing adequate ventilation.
  • Heat-recovery ventilation. A drawback of balanced ventilation in winter is that the influx of cold outdoor air may make indoor temperature control difficult. Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) addresses that issue. Separate intake and exhaust fans controlled by a central unit add outdoor air to the house while also removing indoor air in equal volume through small-diameter dedicated ducts. To keep indoor temperatures stable, the central controller incorporates a heat exchanger that extracts heat from the outgoing airflow and adds it to warm incoming fresh air. In summer, the process reverses, and heat is extracted from incoming outdoor air and transferred to the outbound exhaust stream.

Clear the air with more information about winter ventilation from the experts at Paitson Bros., your source for healthy indoor air quality since 1922.

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