Ensuring good quality of air flow is important in every home, and while there are many different options available to plan a system, the advantages of whole house ventilation can often make it the best choice.
Quite simply, ventilation is the movement of air through a space. In a home this is important for a number of reasons including the prevention of condensation and damp.
According to government reports, in 2015, approximately one million UK homes were affected by damp, with just under 60% of cases being caused by condensation. Good ventilation helps to reduce condensation by removing moist air before that moisture has a chance to settle on surfaces where it can lead to the growth of mould and cause damage to building fabric through damp.
The problems of damp and mould are not just cosmetic. According to the NHS, damp and mouldy conditions as a result of condensation in the home can impact people with asthma and weaken the immune system as well as exacerbating allergies and causing rashes.
Improving ventilation in a home reduces the presence of unwanted moisture and can also prevent the build up of other harmful substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and reduce the concentration of radon in affected areas. By reducing damp and condensation, good ventilation also creates an environment in a building where dust mites will struggle to become established.
Depending on your property type, there are an array of options available to you when it comes to ventilation, but not all solutions will provide you with the amount of airflow that you need.
The simplest systems are passive. Rather than using mechanical fans to push air around, passive ventilation relies on natural gaps in the building fabric coupled with designed items such as fixed vents and air bricks to allow air to move in and out. Weather permitting, passive ventilation can be supplemented with open windows and doors.
While passive ventilation is cheap and simple, it has a lot of drawbacks. The most significant of these is that it relies on the weather. On a still day, there might not be enough air flow to maintain comfortable levels of moisture in the air, while on windier days than the system is designed for, the house can become draughty. Passive ventilation is not maintenance free either. Aside from needing to keep furniture away from vents, owners will also need to regularly clean out and unblock any ground level vents to ensure that air flow is maximised.
Extractor fans provide a step up from passive ventilation. In most homes where they are used, extractor fans are positioned in the rooms with the highest concentrations of moisture – kitchens and bathrooms.
Extractor fans are a highly effective way of controlling moisture in the room where they are situated, and will help to prevent water vapour escaping into the rest of your home when used, but they are limited in the area that they can cover, and as such, will not protect against other sources of moisture in the air such as indoor clothes drying, residents activity, and even breathing.
Whole house ventilation is a system that covers multiple rooms and improves the airflow throughout the entire house.
There are different types of system available, but both bring you the advantages of whole house ventilation:
Positive Input Ventilation (PIV), where the system draws air in from outside to replace stale and moist indoor air by forcing it out.
Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV), where the system uses extractor fans to force air out of the building so that it can be replaced by fresh air drawn in from outdoors.
The effect of both systems is the same – clean fresh air in every room of your home.
Whole house ventilation systems ensure that condensation, and the damp and mould that inevitably follow it does not become a problem in your home. Air is gently moved around from a central location that removes moisture from the air along with other irritants and potentially harmful VOCs. Filtered air from outside contains none of the pollen that can cause Hayfever during summer months, meaning that whole house ventilation has additional advantages for people who suffer from allergies.
Modern whole house ventilation systems can include heat recovery (MVHR), which uses a heat exchange to recover the warmth from outgoing air to heat the fresh air coming into the building. These are highly efficient and help contribute to lower energy costs.
Could your home benefit from the advantages of whole house ventilation? Our local specialists can provide a free home survey to help you get to the bottom of your damp or condensation problems and provide advice and support about the best system for you. Contact us today to find out more.
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