All the fancy air quality control tools in the world are useless if you don’t have a good ventilation system to circulate air through your home each day. An air filter removes larger particles like dust, dander and pollen, and an electronic air filter removes smaller particles like bacteria, mold, and gases. However, your indoor air will still be poor without a fresh supply of air constantly circulating in from outdoors.
Types of Ventilators
There are a few options here, depending both on the number of contaminants your home has and the amount of heated or cooled air you are willing to lose each day through vents.
The simplest method is an exhaust fan. Fans blow air from your home, creating a negative pressure zone inside. Air inlets then allow new air to enter your home and equalize that pressure. There are also balanced exhaust fans – one fan blowing indoor air out and another fan pulling fresh air in. If you have open flames or gas burning appliances, a balanced exhaust fan is necessary to keep the flames from going out due to the negative pressure caused by a single outlet exhaust fan.
Traditional ventilation, while simple, is also inefficient. In the middle of winter it blows all of your heated air outside and in the summer, it does the same to your cooled air. Your home comfort system likely can keep up with the loss of heat or cooling, so you won’t be less comfortable, but you will certainly pay more on your energy bill.
That’s why heat and energy recovery ventilators are popular in many homes. Especially if you went to the trouble of having your home sealed up tightly to minimize energy loss, these ventilators will save you money.
When air is ventilated through a recovery unit, the energy and heat is transferred between indoor and outdoor air as it passes. In the winter, this means the energy in your indoor air is retained and during the summer, the energy in outdoor air is removed before it enters your home.
Which Method is Best?
The method you choose will depend largely on your current cost of heating and cooling and what types of contaminants you face. Energy recovery ventilators have the added benefit of patching directly into your indoor air quality units, so you won’t need to worry about new contaminants coming in either.