Ventilation is a great thing. Bringing outdoor air into the home and exhausting stale indoor air improves indoor air quality. Well, most of the time, anyway. Sometimes the outdoor air quality is worse than indoor air. Sometimes you bring in too much humidity and start growing mold. And sometimes you bring in the wrong outdoor air. But the issue of outdoor air vs. indoor air is a topic for another article.
Probably the most common type of whole-house mechanical ventilation system in homes is an exhaust-only system. You put some controls on the exhaust fans that are already in the home and those fans are set to exhaust stale air from the home, either continuously or intermittently. The problem is this type of system sucks. Literally. And if your house is sucking from an attached garage, a moldy crawl space, or dirty attic, you could be making things worse.
One way to avoid having a house that sucks is to do balanced ventilation. You exhaust stale air from the house and you supply an equal amount of outdoor air directly rather than relying on the negative pressure of the house to bring in the outdoor air.
Here are five ways to do balanced ventilation. I’ve put them in increasing order of cost, complexity, and efficiency.
1. Open the windows
OK, technically I shouldn’t include this one because it’s not a real solution for most homes. This one works only if the home is in a mild climate that needs to little to no conditioning. But if that’s your situation, you don’t need a fancy ventilation system. Just open the windows.
2. Pair a central-fan integrated supply system with the exhaust fans
A lot of homes get exhaust-only whole-house ventilation (fans plus controls). One easy way to upgrade…