Ventilation is vital in the home. It helps to eliminate mould, mildew and musty smells, keep termites away, protects the timber in the home, and removes mould spores, and saves you money that may be caused by dampness problems. It also controls allergens and dust mites. Ventilating a room can be as simple as opening the windows as often as possible in order to allow fresh air to enter and provide cross ventilation. It can also be achieved by having openable skylights.
Exhaust fans are a good option for ventilating the home, especially in wet areas of the home such as the bathroom or laundry. If possible, try to vent to the outside of the home rather than just into the ceiling space. This will stop moisture from simply moving from the inside of the home proper to the inside of the roof space. By installing back draft shutters, you can prevent insects and spiders from entering the home through the exhaust fan. If it is impractical to install an exhaust fan in the ceiling – if you live in an apartment, for example – it is possible to install an in wall fan. In wall fans work the same as standard exhaust fans but are set on an exterior wall and usually only take the same amount of space as three standard bricks.
Sub floor ventilation is an important aspect of ventilating any home and there are several ways that you can do this. Wind driven turbine systems look like a chimney in that they run on the exterior of a house from the sub floor to the roof. The top of the pipe has a wind-operated fan which creates a vacuum to draw out air from the sub floor.
Fan forced ducted systems improve the air flow to areas of the sub floor where damp, stale air is trapped. Air in the sub floor is exchanged with fresh air via a network of flexible ducting with an inline fan inside that has been connected to a power point with a time clock on it. This system is hung on the underside on the floor and there is usually no visible change to the outside of the building.
The final two types of sub floor ventilation are air bricks and eco fans. Air bricks look like normal bricks but they have a wire mesh in the centre that has been set into a cement frame. Eco fans are low-voltage extraction units that are specifically designed to operate in the sub floor wall. Up to 4000 litres of air can be extracted per minute and fresh air replaces the stale air through a series of wall vents.
Roof ventilators are another option. They work in both summer and winter. In summer, roof ventilators reduce the build up of heat in the ceiling spaces, reducing the heat load on your insulation, meaning that the insulation works more effectively. In turn, you will save on your electricity bills as the air-conditioning systems will not have to work as hard. In winter, it reduces the amount of condensation that forms when warm, moist air from exhaust fans meets cold surfaces. Roof ventilators will also reduce the amount of corrosion and timber that occurs because of condensation. Roof ventilators should be installed where there is sarking underneath tiled roofs, when metal deck roofing is used, and when there is evidence of condensation in the roof spaces or ceilings.
Dehumidifiers work by removing water from the air and thus lowering the risk of condensation. Even one dehumidifier can be very effective if it is placed in the correct position. Using dehumidifiers can reduce mould and, if you get one with a carbon filter, you can also reduce the odours in your home.
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