House Ventilation System
Phase 2: Ventilation
The indoor air quality (IAQ) in the house you build is very important because is directly effects your health. You can incorporate two kinds of ventilation into your house; natural of mechanical. Natural ventilation includes using windows, and mechanical ventilation includes using machine systems that exhausts indoor air and/or brings outdoor are into the house. Both kinds of ventilation have rules under local building codes, which you need to refer to when planning.
Things like smells, contamination and moisture can be managed properly when there is proper ventilation in the building. Moisture control is extremely important because if there is not a good balance of moisture in the home mold and mildew can grow. This can cause health problems and also impact the integrity of the home. There needs to be proper ventilation in the house that is planned out in the house design and construction. We tried to use both forms of ventilation in our house, with a strong focus on natural ventilation (since we love windows and natural light to begin with, this was an added benefit for us).
Mechanical ventilation uses installed machine systems that operate on a continuous basis so that it can be used all year. In cases where there is expected extra humidity in the house (say for example, you cook and shower a lot) you will need to use continuous mechanical ventilation to maintain a safe and comfortable level of humidity. Check your local building codes for the kinds of mechanical ventilation designs you can use; a mix of different alternatives is possible and if this is done, it needs to be executed in accordance to local codes.
Natural ventilation happens when you use windows during the warmer times of the year (when you don’t need to use heat in the home) and the air from the outside enters the home to create a comfortable temperature. But during the seasons where heating in needed in the home, you will need to use a mechanical ventilation system so that you don’t have large amounts of heat loss and waste energy. What we found interesting was that, those rooms that have mechanical ventilation do not need a natural ventilation source, but of course, other things like fire safety also need to be taken into consideration.
We researched into a system called “Heat Recovery Ventilators” that are said to recover heat from the air being expelled from the house, and then transfer this heat to the air coming into the home. In the long-run, this type of system is cost-effective and can save a lot of energy and money. There are different kinds of these systems, so do you research to see which would suit your home best. Don’t forget that you will need to clean and maintain the system you choose, so look into how much work you will need to out into it in the long-run.