Total Home Ventilation is looking at your home as a whole and not as individual rooms and components. How is the exhaust fan in the bathroom interacting with the range hood in the kitchen? Am I exhausting too much air and need to make that up somehow? Are my fans placed in the right spots to maximize performance?
There is a lot that goes into properly ventilating and exchanging the air in your home. Air King has the products and the knowledge to help you through it. Lets start with the basics.
Almost everyone agrees that fresh air is much better than stale indoor air. Studies have found that the air inside your home could be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (better know as ASHRAE) has been instrumental in developing building codes to ensure the air we breath inside our home is the best it can be. They created what is known as ASHREA 62.2 which is a building code for acceptable indoor air quality and recommendations for air exchanging. So we now know the “Why” we need total home ventilation, lets get into the “What”.
There are three main components that need to work in harmony to ensure your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Exhaust fans: The typical location for exhaust fans are in bathrooms. They play their part by removing excess moisture and odors from the home. ASHRAE refers to these as Local Ventilation or Intermittent Ventilation. If these are not sized properly, they are going to be ineffective or cause issues with other components. This is why a one-size fits all approach just won’t work. A second exhaust aspect of ASHRAE 62.2 is what is referred to as Continuous Ventilation. Exchanging the air in your home refers to how many times a day all the air in your home is replaced (exchanged) with fresh air. To ensure the proper amount of air exchanges are taking place, ASHRAE has standards for a continuously running exhaust fan located in a central location of the home. Most of the time building professionals will solve this with an exhaust fan. We have a better solution but we will get to that in a moment. Learn more about ASHRAE.
Range Hoods: These are located in the kitchen above the cooking surface. We need to take a moment and scare you a little – sorry. The kitchen is one of if not the top area of the home responsible for air contamination. It gets worse, it is also one of the least thought about areas when it comes to ventilation. Be honest, how many times have you cooked and not turned the range hood on. Studies have found that a well operating and properly sized range hood that vents to the outdoors can greatly decrease the amount of contaminates released into the living area air. We already know what the typical response is – “Yes but hoods are loud and annoying”. And for the most part you would be right. That is why Air King has developed a series of hoods that have operating speeds at very quiet sound levels – about the same sound level your refrigerator is making. We mentioned continuous ventilation in the exhaust fan section. Here is where we talk about something better. Air King offers range hoods that also solve for continuous ventilation. The thought is simple. If the kitchen is the largest contributor to indoor air contamination, why not locate the continuous ventilation right there and have a constant flow of that bad air out. A key component of the continuous ventilation setting on these hoods is the sound level. It is <0.3 which is barely detectable to the ear.
Fresh Air: Fresh air is a newer component to the equation. The building industry has made huge improvements to the energy efficiency of the home. You might hear the term “tight” home. That refers to how well the home is insulated, not allowing air to leak out or in. A challenge with this, is you still need to ventilate the home, but how are you going to make up the air your are exhausting? You have to replace what you are taking out or you develop what is called a negative pressure and this can actually be dangerous. The home is going to make up the air one way or another. If the air is not provided, it will “steal” it from places like chimneys. The highly contaminated air going out a chimney might actually come back into the home. Air King has multiple solutions for make-up air including the QFAM and now ERV and HRVs. These provide a way to target where the fresh air comes into the home while making sure the impact on the HVAC system is minimum. In the case of ERV or HRVs, it conditions the air coming in. This helps prevent extra strain on your heater or AC unit.
When all these components are used in harmony with one another, you can rest assured that you are doing everything in your power to ensure the indoor air quality of your home is the best it can be. Individually they all help, working together they provide Total Home Ventilation.