Ventilation system types are not created equal. This is why choosing the right one is crucial for your safety and comfort.
Everybody knows that heating and air conditioning systems are important to our overall comfort. Yet, the “V” in HVAC may be something that is vague to us. What does a ventilation system do and why do we need it? What is the best type of ventilation system for you?
Well, you’re in the right article. This article will answer all your ventilation questions so you will be guided in choosing the best one for you and why do you need it in the first place.
In general, ventilation is the mechanical framework in a structure that brings in “fresh” outdoor air and pushes out “contaminated” indoor air.
In industries, ventilation is used to mitigate workers’ exposure to airborne impurities. Moreover, it is usually used to eliminate contaminants such as dust, vapors, and fumes to maintain a safe and healthy working place. There are plenty of ways to achieve good ventilation. For example, simply opening a window or with the use of blowers or fans.
Industrial systems are designed to take in and exhaust a specific amount of air at a certain velocity to remove unwanted contaminants. Though all ventilation systems have the same principles, they are specifically designed to match the type of industrial work and the rate at which the work produces contaminants.
Ventilation plays an important role in your home's air quality and comfort.
The fact of the matter is, ventilation is a requirement for good indoor air quality. Certainly, you will experience comfort or even health issues without good ventilation at play. For instance, having trouble sleeping is one good example of experiencing discomfort due to insufficient ventilation.
Importantly, it is highly recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to increase ventilation in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by weakening the virus particles. Therefore, choosing the right one among the list of ventilation system types is crucial.
Importance of Ventilation
“An HVAC system should heat, clean, ventilate, cool, dehumidify, and humidify when needed to provide health and comfort” – ASHRAE.
Probably, you are more familiar with all the other HVAC functions. However, ventilation is something most people are somewhat indifferent about. To put it simply, ventilation is about adding the right amount of fresh air to your indoor space.
You may not believe it but, ventilation is the most important job of an HVAC system. What could possibly happen without good ventilation? Well, the best case would be that your indoor space lacks fresh air and becomes uncomfortable. However, the worst case would be that contaminants and toxins will be trapped inside causing you health issues and making you sick.
On a different light, ventilation is also important for your energy efficiency. If you’re living in an old building, outdoor air could be seeping in through poorly insulated walls, leaking ducts, or poorly sealed doors and windows. This is a good thing, in a way, because it means you are receiving fresh air from outside. On the other hand, this will make your air conditioning system work harder during summer and your heater during winter which yields higher energy bills.
Industrial Ventilation System Types
There are two commonly known industrial ventilation system types, namely:
1. General Industrial Ventilation
This type of ventilation regulates the amount of heat accumulated by hot industrial workspace or minimizes the concentration of air impurities by diluting contaminated air with clean air.
2. Local Exhaust Ventilation
Local exhaust ventilation works by catching contaminants at the source and exhausting them outside.
Parts of an Industrial Ventilation
Mainly, the industrial ventilation system has two parts, namely, a supply system, and an exhaust system.
The supply system (HVAC system, in general) consists of:
The exhaust system consists of:
Residential Ventilation System Types
Here are the four residential ventilation system types known in the market today. Choose the right one for you with this guide.
1. Exhaust Ventilation System
An exhaust ventilation system depressurizes your home. This system exhausts air from your house while fresh air seeps through duct leaks, wall cavities, or passive vents.
This type of ventilation system is best for cold climates. In fact, depressurization can get moisture into the wall cavities which will eventually condense and cause damage in a humid climate.
An exhaust ventilation system is pretty basic and cheap to install. Typically, it only consists of a fan connected to a single exhaust point in the house. A better way to do it is to connect the fan to the ducts from rooms that generate pollutants like the kitchen and bathrooms. Likewise, passive vents through windows or walls can be installed to take in the fresh air instead of relying on leaks in the building.
One disadvantage of having an exhaust ventilation system is that, along with fresh air, it can draw in contaminants like dust from the attic, molds, or radon from the crawlspace, and more. Particularly, these pollutants are a concern when range fans and bath fans are running simultaneously with an exhaust ventilation system because these fans also depressurize your home.
2. Supply Ventilation System
A supply ventilation system utilizes a fan to pressurize your home by blowing outside air into the building while allowing air to leak out of the building through leaks, ducts, or intentional vents.
A supply ventilation system is also simple and cheap to install. A typical supply ventilation system consists of a fan and ducts to introduce fresh air to several rooms that residents mostly occupy. Additionally, this system may include wall vents or adjustable windows in other rooms to help allow inside air out.
The supply ventilation system is better at control the air that enters the house than the exhaust ventilation system. The supply ventilation system prevents back-drafting of combustion gases and reduces outside pollutants in the living area. Moreover, this type of ventilation allows outdoor air to be filtered and dehumidifier to remove pollen and control humidity, respectively.
Supply ventilation is more appropriate in hot or mixed climates. In fact, this system has the potential to cause moisture problems in cold climates. Moreover, during winter, warm interior air may leak through random cavities and openings and condense in cold outer parts of the structure which can result in mildew, mold, and decay.
3. Balanced Ventilation System
Simply, this is a combination of supply and exhaust ventilation systems. A balanced ventilation system does not pressurize nor depressurize your house if properly designed and installed. In fact, this system introduces fresh outside air in the same quantity as it exhausts contaminated inside air.
Typically, a balanced ventilation system has two fans and duct systems that supply fresh air to living rooms and bedrooms and exhaust contaminated air from the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. However, some designs have exhaust from a single point.
A balanced system allows the use of filters to remove pollutants from the make-up air before introducing it inside your home. Also, this system is good for all climates. On the other hand, a balanced system is more expensive to install since it requires two fan and duct systems to work.
All exhaust, supply, and balanced ventilation systems contribute to higher energy costs on heating and cooling. Why? Because they do not regulate the temperature of make-up air or remove moisture before it enters your house.
4. Energy Recovery Ventilation System
Energy recovery ventilation system allows a managed way of ventilation while reducing energy loss. In the winter, this system transfers heat from warm inside exhaust air to fresh and cold outside supply air to reduce heating costs. It reduces cooling costs in the summer by using the inside air to cool the warmer outside air.
Typically, energy recovery ventilation systems can save about 70% to 80% energy from the outgoing air and transfer that energy to the incoming air. That being said, this system is most cost-effective in extreme winter and summer climates. In mild climates, although you’ll save energy from not having to condition the supply air, the cost of electricity the system fans consumed may exceed it. Furthermore, operating this system in cold climates requires devices to prevent frost formation or freezing. Otherwise, the heat exchanger will be damaged and ventilation effectiveness will be reduced.
Energy recovery ventilation system is the most expensive type to install. A lot of systems share existing ductwork to save on installation costs. Complex installations of this system are not only more expensive but also require more intensive maintenance and electricity. Also, attempting to recover all of the energy from the exhaust air won’t be worth the additional expenses. Besides, this type of ventilation system is still not common, and not all HVAC contractors have the experience and expertise to install the system.
Why is it important to choose the right ventilation system?
As mentioned above, there are several types of ventilation systems that you can choose from. Factors to consider include the space to be ventilated, the function of the space, climates, and more. Choosing the wrong one may result in moisture build-up that can lead to mold growth and damage your space.
Indeed, choosing the right ventilation system is a challenging feat and requires help from an HVAC service provider that understands by heart what “V” in HVAC really stands for.
Benefits of a Good Ventilation System
It’s an undeniable fact that fresh air is crucial for humans to survive. If we can, we would be spending all of our time outdoors breathing fresh air. However, that’s not the case for most people especially during this pandemic that we are currently facing. The circumstance that we are in right now forces us to stay indoors which highlights the need for a good ventilation system.
Here are the benefits of a good ventilation system:
1. Contaminants, pollutants, and impurities are controlled
When you live in a busy city, you may assume that the air quality outside isn’t great. But in some cases, the air inside may be more contaminated than the air outside considering the space ratio. Therefore, a good ventilation system plays an important role in keeping your living space safe and comfortable.
2. Air is regulated
You have no control of the building’s airflow unless you have a good ventilation system. Too much or too little fresh air can mean higher energy bills. In short, a good ventilation system regulates the air to the appropriate health and safety levels.
3. Stops condensation
Condensation leads to mold and decay which you do not want in your living space. Also, condensation and a damp environment can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and other health issues. With a good ventilation system, these risks can be alleviated.
4. More appropriate temperature is achieved
A good ventilation system allows you to keep a desirable temperature for any season or climate. You will be more relaxed, comfortable, and safe in your living space all year long.
5. Positive impact on your health
It’s a fact that a well-ventilated space provides a healthy environment for residents or workers. However, a badly ventilated space causes air pollution which leads to health issues like allergies, asthma, headaches, sinusitis, and respiratory problems.