Benefits of Whole-House Ventilation
One good thing could be said about the drafty, inefficient houses of yesteryear: they got a lot of ventilation to eliminate stagnation and dilute contaminants. Unfortunately, ventilation was completely uncontrolled and heating and cooling loss—as well as energy costs—were high. Today, mechanical ventilation is often limited to single-room fans installed in a bathroom or kitchen. Whole-house systems offer several alternatives that improve indoor air quality throughout all living spaces.
Exhaust-only systems utilize a single, powerful fan located in the attic. The fan induces a strong negative pressure, pulling a high volume of fresh outdoor air in through open windows and doors, replacing the home’s entire air volume up to 60 times per hour. Exhaust-only systems are most useful in climates where temperatures at night and early morning are comfortably cool.
By pulling in fresh air through a single roof inlet and adding it to existing HVAC ductwork, supply-vent systems provide better control over air intake and can coexist with an operating central A/C and furnace. Supply-only systems tend to pressurize the home, however, forcing humid indoor air to infiltrate wall cavities, the attic and crawl space, and perhaps cause chronic moisture problems like mold.
Heat Recovery and Energy Recovery
In both systems, a central controller with exhaust and intake fans connects to small diameter, dedicated ductwork. The exhaust fan takes air from bathrooms, utility rooms and other stagnant zones. Simultaneously, the intake fan draws in a precisely-balanced volume of fresh outdoor air and distributes it to bedrooms and living areas. A heat exchanger incorporated in the controller transfers heat from outgoing air during winter to the incoming air stream to preserve indoor temperature; in summer, heat transfer reverses and heat is removed from the incoming stream and added to outgoing air. An energy-recovery ventilator also extracts outdoor humidity from incoming air.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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