While having a tight home can boost your energy savings, it can also seal in harmful contaminants. One of the ways you can introduce fresh, clean air to your home is through balanced ventilation. Let's take a look at what it is and the different ways you can achieve it.
What Is Balanced Ventilation?
A balanced ventilation system removes stale interior air while simultaneously introducing outdoor air directly into your home, rather than relying on your home's negative pressure to bring in outside air. The result is roughly balanced airflows.
Balanced ventilation systems provide better distribution of fresh air than exhaust-only and supply-only ventilation systems. In some cases, balanced systems also lead to lower energy bills.
Opening the Windows
Opening your windows is the cheapest and simplest way of getting balanced ventilation. However, it only works for homes in mild climates that require little or no conditioning.
Pairing a Supply System with Exhaust Fans
Many homes have exhaust-only systems that utilize exhaust fans to remove stale air either intermittently or continuously. The problem with these systems is that they can make your house suck in air from dangerous places like the attic, crawlspace, or attached garage.
You can convert your exhaust-only ventilation to a balanced system inexpensively by pairing exhaust fans with a supply system, such as a supply fan, central-fan integrated supply system, or ventilating dehumidifier.
Using an Energy or Heat Recovery Ventilator (ERV or HRV)
This is the most sophisticated balanced ventilation system. It uses two fans: one that brings in outside air while the other exhausts stale indoor air. Both air streams pass through a filter and heat exchanger, where they pass close to each other and exchange heat (in an HRV) or both moisture and heat (in an ERV). As a result, the need to condition the incoming outdoor air is reduced.
While this system is expensive, it provides considerable energy savings in comparison to the other ventilation systems. Manufacturers recommend installing ERVs in homes in humid climates and HRVs in dry or cold climates.
Balanced ventilation can have a significant impact on your home's air quality and comfort. For more information on balanced systems, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air. We help San Diego residents breathe easier and stay comfortable indoors.