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I live in a 1350 sq. ft. tightly constucted home in Pinewood Springs, Colorado, at elevation 6,700 ft.

I, one person, live in a 1,350 sq. ft. tightly constructed home in Pinewood Springs, Colorado, at elevation 6,700 ft.

Heat is provided by a wood stove and electric baseboard heat.

Do I really need an HRV or ERV, or are there simple ways to achieve appropriate ventilation?

I have no ductwork except for 2 bathroom fans and range exhaust

Thanks

Asked by stuart cohen
Posted Aug 7, 2014 6:14 PM ET
Edited Aug 8, 2014 4:37 AM ET

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1 Answer

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Stuart,
The answer depends on at least two factors: (1) The tightness of your building, and (2) Details about your lifestyle.

If the house is extremely tight (Passivhaus tight, meaning 0.6 ach50 or tighter), most experts would advise you to install a mechanical ventilation system.

Even if your house isn't Passivhaus-tight, some lifestyle choices -- especially damp habits, like frequent showers, keeping lots of houseplants, maintaining several aquariums full of tropical fish -- require mechanical ventilation.

Fortunately, you don't need sophisticated testing to figure this out. Instead, ask yourself two questions:

1. Does my house seem smelly when I return to the house after being away all day?

2. Are there signs of excessive condensation on the interior of my windows during the winter?

If the answer to either of these questions is "yes," then you may need to improve your ventilation.

The easiest way to do this would be to leave one of your bathroom exhaust fans on for 24 hours a day, or to install a timer to control one of your bathroom exhaust fans to operate it intermittently. For more information, see Designing a Good Ventilation System.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Aug 8, 2014 4:45 AM ET

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