The benefits of home ventilation are quite often misunderstood, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to try and explain them.
Unless your home is very modern and built to an extremely high standard it’s likely to be fairly leaky. By this I mean there will be gaps in the structure where draughts will get in. For example around your letter box, window frames or doors, under front and back doors, through floor boards and sub-floor vents etc.
The list is endless, and when I talk about draughts I don’t necessarily mean howling gales that mean you can’t heat your house. I mean very subtle draughts that you’re probably not even aware are there.
Believe it or not ventilation is an essential part of the well being of our homes and ultimately us as we spend so long in them.
Good ventilation means we can:
As we’re discussing the benefits of home ventilation it’s important to talk about the different categories of ventilation from uncontrolled to controlled, and my own sub category (almost controlled). The margins between uncontrolled and controlled are blurred which is why I’ve added my own “almost” controlled section.
This is where your ventilation is limited to draughts through your structure.
This type includes ventilation systems that appear to offer an element of control but ultimately cause uncontrolled ventilation elsewhere.
Examples of "Almost" Controlled Ventilation:
Probably the ultimate solution to domestic ventilation is mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR). These systems control the air coming into and the air exiting your home. It even recycles the heat via a domestic heat exchanger, so you have a constant supply of warm fresh air coming into your home and stale cold air is constantly being removed
It sounds complicated, but it’s not that bad. Read more on whole house ventilation and cross ventilation here.
If you have draughts, your ventilation is not controllable as you can’t decide when to have the draughts on or off and you can’t control the volume of air the draughts allow into your house.
Throughout this article on the benefits of home ventilation I've spent a lot of time talking about draughts being uncontrolled ventilation. You should only draught proof when you have installed a controlled ventilation system.
If you were to simply seal up all the draughts in your home without installing a controlled ventilation system you’d quickly realise that your home’s air quality would deteriorate and you’d likely suffer from condensation related issues amongst other things.
Now that we’ve established the benefits of home ventilation hopefully you’ll see that getting good quality ventilation into your home is extremely important. The type of ventilation is also very important.
You should be aiming for a minimum of “almost” controllable ventilation and ideally controllable ventilation. A controllable ventilation system will make the biggest difference to your air quality.
It should also reduce the running costs of your home, provided it's correctly fitted and used in conjunction with good draught proofing and insulation.