A hot bath or steamy shower on a cold winter day is an excellent way to relax. But you know that condensation that builds up on the mirrors and windows while you soak? It could be hurting your indoor air quality — or even leading to water damage and mold.
Excess moisture in the home can cause long-term problems, but there are ways to mitigate the issue and get cleaner, drier, healthier indoor air.
Keep reading as we discuss how mechanical ventilation, like exhaust bathroom fans, can help keep your home healthy and free of excess moisture this coming winter and beyond.
What Is Mechanical Ventilation?
There are three primary types of ventilation in homes: natural, whole-house, and exhaust-only.
Natural ventilation is just what it sounds like — the exchange of outdoor air with indoor air through open windows, doors, and gaps in the home. It’s helpful and reliable, but, in a northern Midwest climate, it’s not feasible to rely on this year-round.
Whole-house ventilation systems are designed to offer controlled, whole-house ventilation through HVAC systems, ductwork, and exhaust fans. Whole-house ventilation systems can be balanced exhaust/intake or exhaust only with the intake being barometrically dampered.
Exhaust only ventilation is another important type of ventilation. This type of ventilation refers to localized mechanisms throughout the home that “spot” ventilate areas that need it most. Generally, these are bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods. They are simple yet important components in a well-ventilated and healthy home.
Why Do Homes Need Good Ventilation?
According to the EPA, air pollutants can be two to five times more concentrated indoors than out. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors, so it’s vital to keep this air as clean, dry, and healthy as possible.
One of the primary reasons why mechanical ventilation is so important is that it reduces moisture in the air. Moisture in the home can come from activities like bathing, cooking, doing laundry and respirating.
Moisture itself isn’t harmful. However, too much of it for too long can lead to issues including excess condensation, dampness, water damage, and mold. Mold is hazardous to the health of people and pets. If it gets bad enough, mold or water damage could even compromise your home’s structural integrity.
Poor ventilation can also lead to a build up of gases from cooking, appliances, radon, or fireplaces. It can hinder the circulation of chemicals or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) “off-gassed” from new furniture, paint, spray foam and other manufactured items within the home.
Mechanical ventilation also plays a role in reducing the number of particulates (like dust and dander) in the air. If you live in a poorly ventilated home that sees a build up of dust, you might find that hay fever, asthma, and other respiratory symptoms are made worse.
Mechanical ventilation is an important consideration for home builders, too. In effort to make them as efficient as possible, new homes are built very tightly. While this is great for reducing energy usage and operating costs, it also means that accounting for adequate ventilation is even more important. A key part of ensuring a healthy new build is to plan for and install appropriate mechanical ventilation as the home is constructed.
How to Increase Mechanical Ventilation with Panasonic Whisper Select Fans
Increasing ventilation in the home is a great — and a comparatively inexpensive — way to help mitigate moisture and air quality issues. At RVI, we suggest and install Panasonic Whisper Select exhaust systems. These fans provide optimum air exchange performance to help eliminate odors, toxins, reduce moisture, and increase overall indoor air quality.
Our team has installed many of these fan systems in both new and existing homes. We find they are reliable, controllable, energy-efficient, and much quieter than older bathroom fans.
Need Help with Bath Fans or Home Ventilation Services?
Winter will get here eventually. We will need to close up our windows and rely more on mechanical ventilation systems and less on Mother Nature to keep our indoor air healthy. If you aren’t sure that your home has adequate ventilation, now is the time to call RVI.
RVI’s building science experts can visit your home and provide suggestions for increasing the quality of your indoor air. We also work with builders in the northern Wisconsin region to help plan well-ventilated homes that start — and stay — healthy.
Watch our video below and get in touch with Rhinelander’s ventilation and home performance experts today and let us help you get the healthiest home possible!