Did you know that you breathe in 12,000 litres of air a day so it goes without saying that this air should be pure and free of pollutants? Are you faced with bad smells, smoke and cooking odours in your home? Do you suffer from Asthma, bronchitis or allergies? Poor ventilation is a contributing factor to all the problems above. In addition, higher air pollution levels have also been associated with a higher incidence of heart problems, including heart attacks, and toxic air pollutants can increase the risk of developing cancer.
Are you aware that fresh air is good for digestion, it improves your blood pressure and heart rate, and it makes you happier, strengthens your immune system, cleans your lungs and gives you energy and a sharp mind.
Do you notice the sour smell of the trash can, a musty gym-like smell in your bedroom? Is there condensation on the inside of your windows or are your eyes irritated while you’re at home? These are signs of poor ventilation.
How Ventilation works?
Air moves into, out of and around the inside of your home because of differences in air pressure. If the pressure inside your home is lower than it is outside your house in under negative pressure. In this case outdoor air moves into the house. Up to 20% of this air comes from the ground and this could be problem if there is radon nearby as long term exposure to radon causes up to 30 000 lung cancer deaths every year. If the pressure inside is higher than outside your house is under positive pressure and air moves out. If there is no difference between the indoor and outdoor pressure your house is under neutral pressure. Air pressure differences control the way air moves from room to room inside your house.
Blocking up doors and windows to prevent a draught is not sensible as you are blocking air from entering and leaving your home. Air must travel freely in and out. Let the air that you breathe supply you with the oxygen that is vital to your survival. Good ventilation will remove those bad smells, smoke and cooking odours.
Good ventilation protects your home against excess moisture. Too much moisture rots window sills, peels paint and invites insect infestation. Well planned ventilation also prevents the growth of mould and mildew.
Helpful tips to improve ventilation
Vent your home and not your frustrations by following these helpful tips to effectively increase airflow and improve ventilation. If all else fails you might want to ask a professional for help.
- Air flows through furnace vents and if these vents are blocked by debris they will not allow air into your home. Walk around your house and check all the vents. Make sure that vents are not obstructed by furniture.
- Open doors and windows to increase airflow. An opening the size of a window or door allows for a large amount of air to circle in your home but opening one will not be the answer, you will have to open several.
- Fans increase natural airflow so investing in one could be a good idea and a great way to circulate air in your home. Window fans are the most effective because they work in combination with an open window.
- It would be wise to install an extractor fan above your kitchen hob and to use it every time you cook. It will help absorb cooking odours and prevent these odours from lingering in your home. An extractor fan in the bathroom will also help with condensation and to absorb bad smells. Remember to clean these fans and filters at least twice a year.
- Your home’s insulation is the main feature to keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter. If you have an attic it’s easy to get in there and improve the insulation. If your attic insulation is the kind that looks like loose cotton candy all over the attic floor you might want to hire a professional to replace it with something less messy. Doing it yourself and saving money in the process is also an option.
- Cover your surrounding grounds with grass or other low heat absorbing materials as it helps direct cool air into your home.
- Fountains or pools can act as a transition space where air is naturally cooled before passing through an interior space.
How to know if the house is properly ventilated or not?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my home free of lingering odours?
- Are my windows free of condensation?
- Is my stove fan vented to the outdoors?
- Is there an exhaust fan in each bathroom?
- Has my home been tested for radon?
- Are my furnace vents free from debris?
- Is each exhaust fan working and vented to the outdoors?
Overall, using natural ventilation in your home can have a tremendous positive impact on its occupants, the building itself and the environment.
There are of course various other ways of ventilating your home, ways that ventilation experts can help you with. When talking to contractors it’s important to determine how well they understand ventilation basics and ventilation systems so entrust work only to reputed ventilation contractors and subject experts.
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