A growing aspect of modern living is how we address air pollution and the harm it’s doing to our health and the planet. The implementation of ventilation systems in buildings is becoming increasingly popular. These systems are not only energy-efficient but also help to clean the air we breathe indoors.
However, while the intention is clear – to enhance energy efficiency and indoor air quality – there are common pitfalls to be wary of. This article discusses the top five mistakes in energy-efficient ventilation installation and maintenance and how to avoid them.
One of the fundamental errors in ventilation system implementation is the oversight of proper measurement and planning of the building. It's essential to conduct a thorough assessment of the space to determine the appropriate system size. An undersized system may struggle to meet the demands of the space, leading to inefficiency and increased energy consumption.
It's important to understand the specific requirements of the building at the design stage, considering factors such as room size, occupancy, and the local climate. This planning at the initial design stage ensures that the selected ventilation system meets the unique needs of the environment it supports.
Energy-efficient ventilation systems are not ‘install-and-forget’ solutions. One common mistake in energy-efficient ventilation is neglecting regular maintenance and monitoring. Routine maintenance is crucial throughout the seasons, especially as the UK climate changes so quickly.
Filters, in particular, should be cleaned or replaced as recommended by the manufacturer. Failure to do this not only compromises indoor air quality but also forces the system to work harder, reducing its energy efficiency. Even tasks like checking the ducts for debris such as twigs and leaves should be done every week to keep the system working efficiently.
Skipping maintenance checks can also increase energy bills as the system uses more power.
Good to know
Installing a mechanical ventilation system can reduce energy costs by between 25-50%, depending on the size of the building and how insulated it is.
Ductwork is the circulatory system of a ventilation system, and its design and installation are pivotal to its performance. Inadequate ductwork can result in air leakage, unbalanced airflows which lead to cold spots, and increased energy consumption.
Both in residential and commercial scenarios, designers should pay meticulous attention to ductwork development, ensuring proper measurement and layout.
Correct insulation is also crucial, not only for the ventilation system to work properly but to avoid condensation.
The installation process should be carried out by a professional with expertise in ventilation systems to ensure there are no errors at this stage.
Ventilation needs vary with climate conditions, and overlooking these is a common mistake. A one-size-fits-all approach may not be suitable for regions experiencing extreme temperatures or humidity levels. For example, a ventilation system in the Scottish Highlands will have different requirements from a system in the warmer south-west of England. Understanding the climate's impact on ventilation requirements is key to avoiding this common mistake.
A professional ventilation company will select a ventilation system that is adaptable to the specific climate of the location. They will advise on the right system for the environment such as MVHR (mechanical ventilation heat recovery), MEV (mechanical extract ventilation) or PIV (positive input ventilation). Each of these enhances energy efficiency in both heating and cooling scenarios.
In addition to the above mistakes, choosing a non-professional to install an energy-efficient ventilation system can lead to immense extra costs. Incorrect installation can result in:
A professional installer will take the time to educate the building occupier on how to use the system effectively, explaining features such as programmable thermostats and ventilation modes. Sharing this knowledge ensures that the occupier maximises the benefits of the system including cost savings and energy efficiency.
Energy production, especially from non-renewable sources, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By using energy more efficiently, we can mitigate climate change and minimise our impact on the environment.
With government commitments to reducing carbon emissions and new standards being introduced, heat recovery and whole house ventilation systems are set to become a normal part of property building.
The implementation of energy-efficient ventilation systems is a multifaceted process that demands attention to detail and proactive measures. By avoiding the above mistakes in energy-efficient ventilation both installers and home and business owners are contributing to the need to save energy.
This applies to both new builds and the reformation of older properties having energy-efficient ventilation systems installed.
As we look towards a future of sustainable living, these mistakes serve as a guide to navigating the path to energy efficiency in our homes.
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