Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems Improve Airflow

A Bass Air Conditioning Co technician changing an air filter

Even during a cold, Fayetteville winter, indoor humidity creates an atmosphere for mold growth that can impact the health and well being of your family. The fact is, most of today’s homes have newer windows and doors that are largely airtight. When the cold weather comes, your home’s ventilation system holds the key to creating sufficient airflow inside your home.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your indoor air quality, there are three types of ventilation you’ll want to consider.

Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems Improve Airflow

In the kitchen, bathroom and some other areas, such as the basement, you’ll find fans in the exterior walls. These exhaust fans do a good job of quickly eliminating cooking odors, humid air from showering, and other short-term air quality issues.

Because you already have these fans, using them as needed gives you a way to freshen your air and prevent moisture buildup without investing in additional ventilation.

For providing airflow throughout your whole home, however, these small fans aren’t enough. The first problem is that they’re designed to be used just long enough to draw the smell or built-up moisture out of the room. As they run, they also let in a small amount of outdoor air. Leave them running for too long and they’ll bring in more air pollutants than they remove.

The second problem is that while these systems remove stale air, they don’t supply fresh air. Instead, air enters through cracks around doors, windows, pipe penetrations and elsewhere. Rarely will this provide enough fresh air, and the air that does enter won’t circulate well through your home. What’s more, this air is unfiltered and carries with it humidity, mold spores, pollen and other air contaminants.

As the exhaust system draws out air, it creates negative air pressure within your home. This causes the building to suck in more outdoor air than it would receive due to natural air movement. This is a particular problem in North Carolina’s humid climate. Humid, warm outdoor air hitting the cool building structure of an air conditioned home increases the risk of moisture problems and mold growth.

Supply-Only Ventilation Systems Bring Fresh Air

Supply-only ventilation uses fans to bring fresh air into your home and ducts to circulate that air to all your rooms. This gives you precise control over the amount of fresh air entering your home and lets you filter that air. Because these systems don’t draw air from your home, they don’t create negative air pressure. That, too, helps you maintain clean indoor air.

There are three basic types of supply-only systems.

  • Central fan integrated supply (CFIS) – As the name implies, this system uses your HVAC system ‘s fan and ductwork to distribute the fresh air it brings in. The simplest type draws air in through a duct that opens outdoors. While the CFIS is the most common supply-only ventilation method and well suited to a humid climate, it works only when your furnace or A/C are running.
  • Standalone supply – Because this system contains its own fan, it can bring in fresh air even when you’re not heating or cooling. It’s also built with a duct that draws in indoor air that’s then mixed with the incoming outdoor air, so you won’t suffer from drafts.
  • Ventilating dehumidifier – In addition to having its own fan, this system also contains a dehumidifier, making it worth considering in a humid climate.

Balanced Ventilation Systems Offer Complete Ventilation

Balanced systems use one set of fans to draw out stale air and another to bring in an equal amount of fresh air. This not only gives you more control over the airflow, it also prevents the pressure imbalances that could negatively affect your home’s air quality.

While this continuous airflow keeps your indoor air clean, it can also make it harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. The solution is a balanced system with equipment that controls the loss or gain of heat and humidity.

  • Heat recovery ventilator (HRV) – These systems contain a heat exchanger that moves heat from one airstream to the other. In winter, it captures warmth from outgoing indoor air and moves it to the incoming air. In summer, move heat the other direction.
  • Energy recovery ventilator (ERV) – These systems transfer humidity as well as heat. This is especially useful in summer because the system provides fresh air without bringing heat and humidity into your air conditioned home.

For help choosing the right ventilation system for your home, contact us at Bass Air Conditioning Company in the Fayetteville, Hope Mills, and Lumberton areas.

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