Ventilation should be an important consideration in any home. Without proper ventilation, your home could be prone to damp and a build-up of potentially harmful pollutants. Ventilation is also essential for keeping your house fresh and providing a pleasant environment to live in.
There are plenty of ventilation options available. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a ventilation system.
1) Learn about the options
There are many different ventilation systems available. The simplest is natural ventilation, which relies on natural air movement through vents and other openings. Extractor fans remove dirty or damp air from certain rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms, while whole-house solutions provide constant gentle air exchange throughout the property.
2) Consider your home’s natural ventilation
As already mentioned, natural ventilation is the simplest, and usually the cheapest, solution. Although adequate in some properties, you should consider whether natural ventilation is suitable for your situation. Natural ventilation might not cope with moisture or pollutant levels in your home, especially in more modern, energy-efficient buildings, which also tend to be more airtight.
3) Plan your budget
Different ventilation systems have different costs. You should consider your budget but don’t forget that it may be a false economy to install or maintain a system that is not suitable for your needs and property. If you get condensation damp, for example, this can cost a lot more to rectify than it does to prevent through an adequate ventilation system.
4) If self-building, make ventilation part of the plan
Self-building is a minority in the UK but every year more than 13,000 adventurous Brits decide to take the plunge, according to the Build It website. Your ventilation will have to meet certain Building Regulation requirements and it is generally easier if you incorporate systems from the start, rather than adding them later.
5) Check if you are in a radon affected area
Radon gas is a naturally-occurring but potentially harmful radioactive gas that has been linked with an increased risk of lung cancer. It exists throughout the UK but is more prevalent in some areas. If you live in a radon affected area, you might want to consider fitting radon sumps, underfloor ventilation, or positive input ventilation (PIV) which can help to control radon levels.
6) Do you need extractor fans?
If you go for extractor fans, consider which rooms need them. Bathrooms and kitchens are obvious choices, but workrooms, utility rooms, and converted basements and lofts might also benefit. Also, consider how you want them to operate. Some need to be manually switched on, while others are connected to the light switch and some have humidity detectors, which turn on automatically when the air is damp.
7) Think about noise
Some ventilation systems and extractor fans can be noisy and you should consider this, especially if the system will be running for 24 hours, or you have a bathroom extractor fan that comes on with the light. There are many quieter silent fans and ventilation systems available, though, which can be handy if you think noise might be a problem for yourself, sleeping children, or for your neighbours.
8) Do you want to make your home more energy efficient?
Balanced whole-house ventilation provides great ventilation as it involves extracting out stale, polluted, or damp air and replacing it with fresh, filtered air drawn from outside. You can go one step further by passing the outgoing air through a heat exchange. This extracts the warmth and transfers it to the incoming air, helping you to reduce your heating bills and be more energy efficient.
9) Where will you place the units?
Some units will be best placed in a loft space but this is not always available. Extractor fans and vents should be properly placed and intake vents should be situated away from sources of contaminants. Getting experts to survey your property should be an integral part of the process.
10) Look for a reputable company
A reputable company with a wealth of experience can help you to work your way through these considerations and any other queries you might have, helping you to find the perfect ventilation solution for your home and requirements.
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