Why fresh air is important
Fresh, clean air is necessary for people to breathe, be healthy, feel good, and get a good night’s sleep.
Traditionally homes have been leaky and continuously exchanging air with the outside. The exchange rate varies based on the weather, and it can be expected that air that’s entering through cracks and crevasses in walls and foundations, through insulation, the crawl space, basements, and attics, is anything but fresh and healthy. This uncontrolled “infiltration” of air causes the home to also lose or gain significant amounts of heat winter and summer.
Contaminants of concern include carbon dioxide (CO2), moisture (RH), cleaning chemicals, and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Nuisance substances are bathroom and kitchen odors, as well as stale air in general.
Exhaust-only systems use fans operating on demand to remove moisture, contaminants, odors, and stale air. These fans are commonly found in bathrooms and in kitchens and vent to the outside. The air pumped to the outside has to be replaced, and exhaust-only systems typically rely on a leaky building envelope to let make-up air through, which is why replacement air is not guaranteed to be good quality. Poorly designed exhaust only systems can depressurize a home to the point that poisonous combustion gases from a furnace, boiler, water heater, wood stove, or open fire place are drawn into the home creating a serious hazard to the occupants.
Heat, energy, and moisture recovery
Energy recovery ventilators (ERV) are used to supply fresh air to the living space and bedrooms, while exhausting an equal amount of stale air from the bathrooms and kitchen areas. They provide the following benefits
- Balanced ventilation supplies and exhausts the same amount of air eliminating the risk of depressurization
- Heat exchanger transfers energy from the warmer to the colder air stream with up to a 95% recovery rate
- ERVs also exchange humidity
- Intake air is filtered, with optional dust and pollen filters available
- Many new ERV units use air quality sensor data (CO2, RH, VOC) to switch from fresh air to recirculation mode saving additional energy when air quality is already good
- Optional booster function to be able to respond to specific nuisance needs
Importance for high performance homes
Today’s building codes require homes to have a tight envelope reducing natural air infiltration to a minimum. High performance homes like the ones developed by BrightSense, are even tighter, and require controlled mechanical ventilation to ensure healthy indoor air and prevent risks to the integrity of the building.
BrightSense offers turnkey services matching your home ventilation needs, including
- Equipment selection guide
- Sensors, controls, and booster functionality
- Installation supervision
- Commissioning and balancing
High performance homes are very quiet due to their high level of insulation and air sealing. A well designed ventilation system not only excels with providing high indoor air quality, but also with its operation being perfectly quiet and unnoticed.
Too much is at stake to risk your family’s health, comfort, and your home’s integrity to rely on random air changes of unknown quality from questionable sources. Call BrightSense today to discuss.
Hans Joachim Preiss
Office: +1 720.500.5470