When someone brings up natural ventilation, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A walk in the park, fresh breeze from the seaside, or cool morning air?
We all need clean air for survival, and in a perfect world, we would all be free to go outside and enjoy it. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck at home because of community lockdowns and physical distancing regulations. But there is a way you could create kind better ventilation in your home.
Making Ventilation Natural
Ventilation is the process of removing stale air and moisture and replacing it with fresh air. Most people improve the ventilation in their homes using mechanical devices and systems, such as fans and HVAC units. But they could also create natural ventilation in their homes; this is called passive ventilation.
Homeowners could use wind-driven ventilation to improve air circulation in their homes. The building or the house needs to be built in a way that creates different pressures in the house, with windows allowing airflow. The other method is buoyancy-driven ventilation, which uses temperature as a way to control airflow.
Making buildings that could “breathe” is a challenge, especially in urban areas. Natural ventilation relies heavily on the structure’s location and orientation, and given the limited space in most urban areas, it is no surprise that most people rely on mechanical ventilation systems.
Good airflow rids any building of moist air, smoke, odors, and other pollutants that can be harmful to people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that proper ventilation and other precautionary measures could prevent the spread of COVID-19. Though there are now concerns that the virus could now be airborne, proper ventilation would quickly remove any virus in your indoor air.
Maintenance is key
But if you rely on mechanical ventilation systems, you might still have bad indoor air quality if your HVAC unit is not maintained regularly. Having a regular maintenance check also ensure whether your unit requires a furnace repair or a replacement. An inspection ensures that the filters are free from dust and debris and the whole system is free from mold and mildew. Doing so can extend the service life of your appliances up to 20 years and is more economical than replacing them with a new one.
You could also use air purifying plants if you want decor that improves not only your indoor air but also your home’s ambiance. But not all plants are best for indoors, so choose indoor plants that suit your area, home temperature, and your geographical location. Some plants can improve your mood and sleep.
House Design Matters
Ensure that your building’s design allows natural airflow to supplement what your mechanical ventilation systems could provide. Check where your windows and doors will be placed. Pollution (noise and air) could enter a building through these openings, so the design should lessen this possibility.
If you have mechanical ventilation, make sure that openings are three to six feet from the floor (or at most head height.) Take advantage of wind direction, so cross-ventilation becomes possible.
Use Central HVAC Units
Central HVAC units are better for most homes because the system is centralized and could serve several rooms with one unit. These are often quieter and do not contribute to noise pollution. They also better at humidity control and moisture drainage.
A centralized aircondition unit is also easier to maintain since there is only one unit and a series of ducts in the system. These units are often made of heavier duty components and have more extended service years than other types.
Monitor and Control Air Volume
But indoor air quality does not rely solely on ventilation. Check if your HVAC unit has controls for modulating outdoor air and recirculating it. Some units have built-in dampers and actuators, but some do not. Ask the manufacturer if they could include this in your centralized unit.
Having a good ventilation system can be very beneficial for your health and well-being. Outdoor and indoor air could both have poor quality, and all property owners should make sure that their system improves it. Not doing maintenance and using the wrong unit for your property or location might increase problems such as dampness and mold. These can trigger asthma since high humidity and lack of ventilation could create a fertile breedng ground for dust mites and mildew.
Keeping your house cool and environmentally friendly, especially during summer, is one step closer to having a more comfortable place and a conducive office for those working from home. Going green may not be easy, but in the long run, it is the best step you could take for a healthier and brighter future, even in a pandemic.