There are several reasons why proper ventilation is important. First, it reduces unhealthy air pollutants, such as formaldehyde and radon. Second, it reduces excessive moisture and humidity levels, which can lead to mold growth and structural damage. And third, it reduces naturally occurring odors in the house from pets, cooking, smoking, and other everyday living activities. In fact, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that a home's living area should be ventilated at a rate of roughly 15 cubic feet per person per minute.
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1. Minimize Natural Ventilation
Allowing air to naturally flow into and out of your home sounds like the best method of ventilation, but it's actually got a lot of disadvantages. The biggest problem is that it's uncontrolled. The cracks that you depend on for air transfer are the same ones that cause your energy loss through air leakage. Open your windows for an occasional air wash, but whole-house ventilation is better for your day-to-day strategy.
2. Monitor Your Ventilation
Kitchen, bathroom, and ceiling fans are a smart way to ventilate a room without using your HVAC system. But sometimes there's steam or cooking smells that need to be removed after you've left the room. Ventilation monitors offer a variety of ways to do this, by measuring either time or humidity.
3. Consider Whole-House Ventilation
For the most control over air pollutants, moisture, and odors, whole-house ventilation offers the best solution. This method not only improves air quality, but also provides uniform ventilation throughout the house. It's also the most efficient method in regards to energy control, in that you can install a programmable thermostat and monitor the temperature even when you're not in your home.
4. Use Spot Ventilation Where Needed
Spot ventilation isn't an overall strategy. It's a supplemental approach to increase the effectiveness of either natural or whole-house ventilation. It consists of specially-placed exhaust fans that help in the kitchen and bathroom to remove air pollutants and moisture at their source. The biggest problem with spot ventilation is that the exhaust fans are often turned on longer than they're needed. To solve this, consider using some sort of automatic ventilation control that switches the fan off based on time or humidity.