Ventilation - Is it worth it?
Everything you need to know to make a smart decision for your family
Are you suffering from condensation on your windows?
Is mold a serious problem in your house?
Having trouble breathing at night from allergies or dampness?
If you answered yes to any of these then please read on.
Ventilation is crucial for healthy living.
The continuous flow of air into a room prevents stagnation and provides a healthy living environment. Northland’s climate means a lack of ventilation can quickly produce dampness (crying windows) and stale air. Moisture is produced from day-to-day activities such as cooking, washing, drying clothes and even breathing! That’s where ventilation systems come in.
Understanding how these systems work, and what types are available, will make choosing the right ventilation system for you a lot easier. Please read this guide, and do get in contact with us, if you would like us to make a time to come out and assess your home.
What types of systems are there and what will they do?
Positive Pressure Systems are the most common systems in Northland. They blow dry air into your house from the space in the ceiling and/or from outside. After passing through a filter, the air is gently forced into the home, which effectively pushes out stale and moist air that contributes to dampness and mold growth. These systems are better suited to older houses.
Balanced or Fresh Air Systems work by extracting warm, damp air from living spaces and passing it through a very efficient heat exchanger, which is used to heat fresh air that the system brings in from outside the house. This type of system fully complies with the building code, and is our recommendation for modern, airtight homes. Unlike positive pressure systems, they use a heat exchanger to reduce the amount of cold air coming into the house in winter.
Will a ventilation system rid our home of condensation and moisture?
No ventilation system can claim a 100% eradication of condensation or moisture. To completely eradicate condensation, you would need to remove all moisture from the home, which would be unhealthy and dangerous. Alternatively, you could heat the home 24/7 maintaining a high temperature. This would be extremely expensive and impractical. By lowering the moisture content in the home to ideally maintain a relative humidity level averaging 50%, will drastically 'reduce' the moisture and condensation levels.
Why don’t I just get a dehumidifier to get rid of the moisture?
It is a start. Dehumidifiers remove the moisture from the air in any given room. To remove the moisture from a house using dehumidifiers you would have to run 4 or 5 for extended periods of time. This is an expensive, impractical and unhealthy option. Dehumidifiers can over dehumidify the air and in doing so can dehydrate the occupants, which can be unhealthy and dangerous.
We have a modern brand-new home, do we really need ventilation?
All families still introduce moisture into all homes on a daily basis. In some cases, new homes are damper than older ones, as they are so sealed up around the doors, windows, and baffles on the exhaust fans (bathroom and kitchen) that nothing can get in or out. That nothing includes moisture, along with all other pollutants and smells.
Do we need a ventilation system if we have a heat pump?
Heat pumps are great, however, they are an efficient form of primary heating. Generally, heat pumps will be placed in the main living area. Most heat pumps do not remove sufficient moisture from the home, instead, they heat the damp or moist air in the home, which can promote the growth of mold and dust mites that thrive in warm damp conditions. The filters on most heat pumps can only be regarded as very basic dust filters and do not filter out pollens, allergens, bacteria or pollutants to the same degree as an efficient ventilation system. Furthermore, the filtering only concentrates in the area of the unit and not throughout the whole home. Heat pumps do not introduce fresh filtered air, they recirculate the air already in the home. Most people do not run a heat pump 24 hours a day 7 days a week anyway, and even if you did the running costs would be higher than a ventilation system. Our ventilation systems have many benefits which can only improve the effectiveness of a heat pump.
What type of system should we look at if someone in my family has allergies or breathing issues?
Positive pressure systems do a great job of removing dampness in the house making it a healthier environment. However, they generally pull air from one of the dirtiest spaces in your home – the ceiling cavity. If you want to ensure you have the healthiest breathing environment, then we recommend installing a balanced ventilation system that actively removes stale air from the house while bringing in fresh air from outside. To make it even better we can install HEPA and carbon filters on the incoming air that will remove most of the pollens that may enter the house.
We have pets and sometimes the house smells, especially when it is all closed up during the winter months. Will this help?
By ventilating the home 24/7, your system will complete whole-house air changes many times during the day and can change all the air in the home up to 3 times in the space of 1 hour. Not many smells will linger after this. It is also very beneficial for the ‘smelly teenager’, for those that smoke in their home or the renovator with painting fumes.
What should we do first - Upgrade the insulation, install a heat pump or install a ventilation system?
In an ideal situation if you did all three you would not need to do anything else. But let’s face it even with the current Government Warmer Kiwi Homes subsidised insulation and heating subsidy, it is still a big investment. So where is the best place to start? Before you can heat a home and make it a healthy place for your family, you need to remove the moisture and pollutants. This is not a one-off process; it has to be ongoing on a daily basis to be effective. Insulation is definitely a major factor in a healthy home, however, you still need to heat it up for the insulation to minimize heat loss. Insulation helps keep a home drier but first, the home has to be dry to start with, insulation does not remove moisture. Heating damp polluted air is not just the answer to the heart of a healthy home. First, you remove the moisture and pollutants and give your home a kick start using the solar energy available. This can only be done by adding or upgrading your extraction fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Then you maintain the heat, or add to it, with a heat pump, the job of which has been made easier and more cost-effective thanks to the ventilation system. Finally, through efficient insulation, you minimize the heat loss again adding to the whole home efficiency making for a healthier happier home.
Why does Hubands Energy put vents in most rooms while other companies only have 1 or 2 vents?
We know that in every household there are times when the bedroom door gets closed by the shy or private teenager, the noisy bedroom dweller or for a multitude of other reasons. When the door is shut with no vent, the good starts to be undone. If this shutting is frequent, or longer, the benefit of the system are reduced, or even nullified. This could contaminate the rest of the home with stale, damp, polluted air, significantly reducing the efficiency of the system. Having a vent in each bedroom and living area creates better pressure within the home, forcing out the stale damp polluted air that has been accumulating through the day.
How long will it take before I notice a difference?
You will notice a difference within hours of installation and power up. There will be a noticeable fresher and cleaner smell in a normally locked up house. Depending on the particular house, you will notice improvements to the overall condition of the house as each day passes. Your home will be going through a conditioning process over the coming weeks and months. As time passes, your home will be drier and healthier.
Is it noisy? Can I hear it?
Just like any other system, if you listen carefully, you will hear a very slight hum being emitted if you are in close proximity to the vents. This is not intrusive and generally, you will not hear it. We use acoustic ducting that also helps reduce noise that may come from the system.
Will I feel a draft coming through the vents?
You will only feel slight air coming through the vents when you hold your hand up to the vent. But do not be fooled, as our systems have very powerful motors. The low-profile diffusers direct the air discreetly across the ceiling, circulating around the room and also downward. The amount of air can be controlled independently on each diffuser for your total control and comfort.
How long does the filter last?
With positive pressure systems, under normal conditions, the filter should work efficiently for about one year. We recommend the filter(s) be changed every year to maintain the system’s ability to keep your house dry and fresh. Balanced ventilation systems have washable filters that last up to five years before they need replacing, however, if you do not wash them regularly, they may need to be replaced sooner.
Can I change the filter myself?
Either we can change the filter for you or if you are moderately handy and don’t mind getting into the roof space, you can do it yourself. We supply the filters and the latter would be a cheaper option for you.
How long does it take to install?
Every house is different, some big, some small. As we custom fit each system to the house, installation times can vary. Expect a positive pressure system to take between half a day to a day. Balanced pressure systems do take a lot longer and can run over multiple days.
How much does it cost to install a ventilation system?
Prices vary depending on the house and what type of system you would like to install. As a rule, balanced ventilation systems are more expensive than positive pressure systems, but are worth every penny. Get in contact with us now if you would like us to come to your home to design and quote the perfect system to meet your needs.