Ventilation and air conditioning are two of the most important systems in the home. Poor ventilation can give rise to health problems such as asthma, bronchitis and chronic colds, and can also lead to the development of mould, which poses a health risk and can cause structural damage. Providing the right amount of ventilation and fresh air is therefore crucial.
Air conditioning not only provides comfort but also stabilizes the humidity. Both ventilation and air conditioning systems work hand in hand to make a healthier and more energy-efficient home.
When air passes through a home, it collects dust and other airborne particles such as pet dander, as well as bringing in impurities from So it's very important to replace disposable filters or regularly clean permanent filters so that they continue work at optimum capacity to keep the air healthy. You'll also spend less time dusting!
Check the ventilation in the attic space, since good ventilation improves the efficiency of the insulation, which in turn reduces heating bills and will ultimately prolong the life of your roof. Install a turbine vent or a ridge vent on the roof if there is no such system in place. As hot air rises through the home, it is exhausted through the vent, and cool air is drawn in through the soffits.
When an air conditioner is running, it's normal for condensation to accumulate inside the unit. This water needs to be able to drain freely. When installing a portable air conditioner, be sure to incline it slightly towards the outside. For central air conditioning systems, make sure the exhaust hose empties into a drain.
Older homes can often be heated and cooled more effectively by partly or completely removing partition walls to create a more open floor plan. Before the advent of central heating, heat was controlled by containing it within small rooms, with the doors kept shut. Small wood-burning stoves or oil heaters provided heat in just the rooms being used, for example the parlour, dining room or kitchen. Today, with central heating and ventilation systems, these small rooms inhibit the circulation of heat and fresh air. An open-plan concept provides greater comfort and helps reduce energy costs.
A simple ceiling fan consumes very little electricity, even when operating around the clock. By moving air around, it freshens the atmosphere in summer and helps maintain a constant temperature all year round. Set the blades to push the air downward in the winter. This will bring warm air down from the ceiling and help keep the temperature constant. In summer, reverse the blades so the cool air is drawn up from the basement or in from open windows.
Window fans transport fresh air into the house and exhaust stale air outside. Since hot air rises, place window fans upstairs, one in each room, and set them so that they blow towards the outside. Then open a basement window or the hatch to the crawl space; the negative pressure in the home will draw the cooler air upstairs.
A heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, is a central ventilation unit that can stand alone or be connected to a furnace. As well as bringing fresh air into the home, it passes heated, outgoing stale air over a unit that transfers the heat to the incoming fresh air.
A skylight installed in the highest part of the ceiling (above the hall, for example) can let warm air out and cooler air in. In the winter, it will bring sunlight into the home and help heat the interior.
Moisture levels in bathrooms and kitchens can be extremely high when these rooms are in use. An extractor fan with a humidity sensor ensures that the fan runs when it is needed most and shuts off when the moisture level returns to normal. It's also a good idea to install a humidity-activated fan in the laundry room.
In most newer homes, the attic is ventilated by air flowing through soffit vents and exhausting either through a ridge vent at the peak of the roof or through separate roof-mounted vents. Check all such vents regularly to make sure they are clear of leaves and other debris.