Winters can be harsh in our region, so most of us are not going to have the opportunity to open a window now and then for ventilation. We still need some fresh air to improve our indoor air quality over the winter. Ventilation, be it an open window or a dedicated ventilation system, can get fresh air in and let stale air out.
In lieu of opening a window, most homeowners opt for one of four basic types of ventilation systems. Here's what you might be looking to install to as winter ventilation:
A supply system moves fresh air into your home. The problem is it doesn't remove stale air except by pressurizing the home and pushing it through minute cracks. In our climate, a supply system can cause moisture problems in the winter, typically condensation that can freeze in the attic or exterior walls, leading to mold.
These work by removing air from the home, typically from the bathroom or kitchen exhaust ducts. The main issue with these is that they create negative pressure, drawing in moisture in the summer which can collect in walls and cause mold.
Balanced ventilation is the most desirable type, in that it creates balanced pressure by adding as much fresh air as it removes through a system of ducts and fans. These systems are installed with filters to remove dust and pollen. The main issue with these systems is that they are hard to install just right.
Energy Recovery Systems
Energy- and heat-recovery systems are more expensive to install than other options and require maintenance and cleaning so that they continue to recover energy from the air exhausted from the house. In our climate, you need devices to prevent freezing and frost, which can damage the heat exchanger. Frost will also make the system work less efficiently. These systems may be new to some contractors. Installation — requiring short, straight exhaust and supply duct runs to bedrooms and common areas — must be done with precision to be effective.
For more on winter ventilation, contact Hartman Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning of New Haven.