Balanced ventilation means a controlled, equal volume of air is brought into and removed from your house at the same time. It’s the optimum condition to keep air fresh and remove pollutants, while also preserving indoor temperature control.
Most common ventilation options are unbalanced. Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, for example, remove humid air and odors. However, because they don’t induct fresh air to equalize the loss, negative pressure occurs indoors. External air is drawn into living spaces from potentially unhealthy zones including the crawl space and attic. Conversely, blowers that induct outdoor air without exhausting an equal volume pressurize the house, pushing cooled or heated air out.
Downsides of unbalanced ventilation include:
- Unstable temperature control.
- Compromised indoor air quality.
- Excess household humidity.
- Higher operating costs as A/C and furnace run longer cycles.
Air balancing eliminates issues associated with negative or positive pressure imbalance while also ensuring a consistent supply of fresh, filtered air. Here are two examples:
Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)
The system incorporates a central controller with separate intake and exhaust blowers that deliver balanced air volume. Small-diameter dedicated ductwork takes air out of areas like kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms while adding filtered fresh air to living spaces like bedrooms and family rooms. This sustains indoor pressure equilibrium while also efficiently ventilating the premises.
To stabilize temperatures, an HRV incorporates a heat exchanger situated between incoming and outgoing air streams. In winter, heat is extracted from the exhaust air stream and added to incoming fresh air to prevent temperature loss. During summer, the process reverses and heat is removed from the incoming air stream and added to the exhaust stream to minimize heat gain.
Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
An ERV provides all benefits of an HRV, adding humidity control. Utilizing an enthalpic process that absorbs moisture, the system extracts water vapor from the incoming air stream and adds it to the exhaust stream. This prevents infiltration of excess outdoor humidity during muggy summer weather.
For more details about the benefits of balanced ventilation, contact the air quality professionals at Jackson & Sons.