The Benifits of Home Ventilation

The purpose of a home ventilation system is to maintain a healthy living environment by supplying fresh air to your home while at the same time removing stale and polluted air. Home ventilation also helps to maintain proper humidity levels of 30 to 50 percent.

The air in your home is used many times over, often with fresh air entering only when we open doors or windows. As we strive to build homes more and more energy efficient, we create an environment prone to indoor air quality problems, thereby, reducing the homes ability to breathe and natural air changes do not occur.

The reason for the buildup of indoor pollution in today’s homes is a direct result of our efforts to conserve energy. With insufficient home ventilation, pollutants can build up and become very concentrated. These pollutants come from many sources and some, such as mold, are more problematic when combined with high humidity levels, which is another problem associated with inadequate home ventilation.

When humidity is too high, mold, mildew and rot can become serious problems. A mold outbreak can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home and in some cases can make a home uninhabitable.

Another problem with high humidity is dust mites. Every home has dust mites and they thrive in humid conditions. This is a concern for people who suffer from dust mite allergies.

Low humidity, on the other hand, can cause nose and throat irritation, dry skin, wood can shrink and crack and hardwood flooring can shrink and become noisy when walked on. Static electricity is a symptom of low humidity.

Home ventilation is one of the most important things you can manage, in order to maintain a healthy environment for you and your loved ones.

Heat Recovery Ventilators, Air Exchangers, Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans, Attic Ventilation Fans, Dryer Vents and attic and crawl space vents are all important components of proper home ventilation.

Pet Dander, Pollen, Lead, Dust Mites, Mold Spores, Tobacco Smoke, Household Chemicals, Pesticides, Cleaning Supplies, Paints and Solvents are only some of the common pollutants that can build up without adequate home ventilation.

Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide and Soot from fuel burning appliances and heating systems can also become a problem without proper home ventilation.

Proper home ventilation can help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms and help ease other respiratory ailments that burden millions of people.

Why Getting Ventilation And Insulation Right Is Essential In A Loft Conversion

While planning a loft conversion can be an exciting time, it’s vital to consider the importance of proper ventilation and insulation in the converted space. Originally, lofts were designed as a cold ventilation space for the house, and insulation was laid on the floor in order to seal this space off from the rest of the building. With a loft conversion though, the very purpose of the space changes and completely different ventilation and insulation arrangements are required.

But why are loft ventilation and insulation so important? Because the roof space shields the house from rain and condensation, it’s susceptible to damp. Without effective ventilation in place to expel the damp from the roof, the timbers can start to rot, possibly leading to significant structural damage. At the same time, roof insulation is essential for preventing heat from escaping from the house, meaning that good quality insulation helps to keep heating bills down and improve household energy efficiency.

In a loft conversion, the location of the insulation will shift from the ceiling joists of the loft to in between the rafters. This consequently restricts the air flow in the loft space, meaning that is not effectively ventilated. What can you do to improve the ventilation in the loft while ensuring that it is also properly insulated? First, you must create a ‘ventilation path’ of around 50mm between the underfelt of the roof tiles and the layer of insulation, as this allows air to be naturally expelled from the roof space. Second, you must implement both ‘rapid’ and ‘background’ ventilation. Rapid ventilation requires a window that is at least 1/20th the size of the floor space and can be opened to allow air to escape quickly. Background ventilation takes the form of an air brick or a ‘trickle vent’ fitted at the top of the window, which creates a draught-free airflow. If you plan to put a bathroom in your loft, you’ll also need to install mechanical ventilation such as an extractor fan in order to prevent the rapid build-up of mould.

As mentioned, insulation should be laid underneath the roof tiles and then overlaid with plasterboard, but how thick should the insulation be? This will depend on the type of material used, so guidance should be sought from the manufacturer.

In considering these issues of ventilation and insulation, though, it’s important to remember that any changes will need to be compliant with building regulations and may also need planning permission. If you’re unsure at all about taking on the challenge of reconfiguring your roof’s ventilation and insulation, consider seeking professional help. Getting these important considerations wrong could have a major negative impact on the success of your loft conversion and could quickly make the new space feel uninhabitable.

Solar Attic Fans Can Reduce Your Energy Bill

A Simple Solution To Reduce Your Power Bill

Many Hawaiian homeowners are spending a small fortune to run fans and air-conditioning trying to keep their home cool. The majority of homes, especially older homes, depend on trade winds to keep the their home from becoming unbearably hot.

Typically people who are trying to beat the heat will just install an expensive air conditioning system. What they don’t realize is that they could reduce their power bill and save money simply by improving the ventilation. It stands to reason that if you can keep the heat out naturally, you will need fewer fans and less air conditioning, thus reducing your energy consumption.

How To Keep Your Home Cooler Naturally

Radiant heat from the sun hits your roof on every sunny day. Most roofing materials will absorb much of this heat, especially asphalt or clay tile roofs. Hot air tends to rise but it can get trapped in your attic or vaulted ceiling. If this hot air is not escaping properly, it will migrate downward into your home and it will continue become hotter and hotter inside. That’s why it can often be cooler outside than on the inside of your home.

Consider ventilation like a natural fan that causes the air to move. Ideally, you want a steady, high volume of air flowing through your home.

What you want to establish is known as “Thermal Flow,” where cooler air is coming in and the hot air is going out. This thermal airflow can be established with a combination of intake or soffit ventilation and proper attic ventilation. It’s not just enough to let the hot air out; you have to ensure that cool air is also flowing in.

There are several ventilation systems that create ways for the hot air to escape:

Box vents – These vents are the most common and the least expensive up-front. They are usually made of plastic or metal. You can add extra vents to increase your ventilation however they usually won’t work on vaulted ceilings

Whirly-bird vents – These are a step up from a box vent and function well when a breeze is blowing. The concern is that they are on a ball-bearing system and will eventually wear-out and become noisy.

Ridge Venting – A very good venting solution because it creates a large air-flow over the entire ridge peak. A baffled ridge vent actually creates and area of low pressure on both sides of the ridge vent that will literally pull hot air out of the attic. This “vacuum suction” is known as the Bernoulli Effect, where the wind passing over a structure actually creates a pulling or lifting action. The lifting effect from the difference in air pressures is the same force that allows airplanes to fly and sailboats to sail.

Solar Attic Fans – These are proven to be most effective in removing unwanted heat. The small, built in solar panels cause a fan to literally suck the hot air out. A 30-Watt solar fan will typically be sufficient for every 1200 square feet of attic space. Some solar fans are specially designed for installation in vaulted ceilings. The best fans will have a brushless motor system and a warranty of 20+ years. We see many of the cheaper foreign made units failing within 5-8 years.

Solar Powered Air-Conditioner – If natural ventilation doesn’t solve the over-heating problems, solar-powered air-conditioning can be a great alternative. These cooling units are run completely by sun power. They are stand-alone units and because they don’t tie into your home’s electric system, they don’t require any special permits from HECO.

Both the solar powered attic fans and solar air conditioners are the most powerful way to get the hot air out. Being solar powered devices, they can still qualify for solar tax credits.