A major part of a home’s function is ventilation. Ventilation systems are comprised of multiple parts that work together to make the air in your home fresh and healthy. Sometimes, however, ventilation systems don’t do their job. They might be outdated, dirty or poorly maintained, or they might be working too hard and inefficiently simply because the home itself isn’t properly air sealed. Whatever the case, the results are far from ideal, according to Betsy Rathburn from Dr. Energy Saver by Innovative
. As a certified home energy conservation professional, she helps us understand this issue by pointing to some of the biggest problems in homes with poor ventilation systems:
1. Energy Inefficiency
A ventilation system that is improperly installed or poorly maintained might need to be overhauled entirely. Poor ventilation can also be a sign that your house is poorly air sealed. When that happens, the conditioned air – the air that you paid to cool and heat – tends to escape through any gaps in the structure. As a result, unconditioned outside air is sucked in through the same gaps to take its place and your system now has to work harder to keep up.
2. Poor air quality.
If the air in your home doesn’t move, you’re forced to breathe in scented air fresheners, cleaning supplies, cigarette smoke, and other pollutants that are harmful to your health. Poor ventilation can also raise indoor relative humidity levels and create an environment in which mold and dust mites – the two leading causes of indoor allergies – are known to thrive. In areas where radon is a concern, poor ventilation can lead to hazardous concentrations of this radioactive gas, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the world and linked to over 20,000 deaths a year in the U.S.
3. Decreased comfort.
If you aren’t comfortable in your home, you might as well not call it a home. And you’re a lot less likely to be comfortable if your ventilation system isn’t up to par. From uneven temperatures throughout the house, to homes that are never cool or warm enough, as well as mold problems, musty smells, and indoor pollution, a poorly ventilated or poorly sealed home can also put a strain on your wallet when your inefficient ventilation system wastes energy.
While it is much better to get the air to circulate, trying to compensate for the inefficiency of your ventilation system with simple approaches such as opening a window might not be the best course of action.Besides being impracticable during cold winters it is not a very energy efficient approach during the warmer months.
Green, energy efficient homes call for proper air sealing and a perfectly balanced ventilation system to ensure that the indoor air is breathable, while preventing energy loss through air leakage. Having your ventilation system checked or upgraded, and your home air sealed by a home energy conservation specialist, can help you save up to 40% in heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.