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Home Ventilation
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Ventilation is an important aspect of healthy, comfortable living. It creates a flow of air that allows the house to "breathe" and helps prevent moisture build-up year-round. This process of supplying or removing air can be done by infiltration, natural or mechanical ventilation.

• Infiltration: The process by which air leaks into a building through cracks and gaps in the building envelope, especially around windows and doors. When air moves out of a building it is called exfiltration.

• Natural Ventilation: Natural ventilation is unpredictable and unreliable. It is a type of ventilation that depends on natural instead of mechanical means for air movement. Movement is affected by the wind or the difference in temperature from one area to another. Occurs when outdoor air enters through open windows and doors.

• Mechanical Ventilation: A type of ventilation in which air moves by means of a fan or other mechanism. It is controlled and purposeful. Exhaust fans and the use of fans and ductwork are used with mechanical ventilation.

In our efforts to conserve energy, newer homes are being built with limited means of infiltration and other ventilation processes. With inadequate home ventilation, pollutants can build up and become very strong. Mold, mixed with high levels of humidity, are one of the leading problems associated with insufficient ventilation. A mold break out can cause numerous damages, therefore leading to a big dent into your back account.

Other problems with poor ventilation include dust mites, nose and throat irritation, dry skin, carbon monoxide poisoning, allergies and asthma symptoms. It is extremely important that you manage your ventilation. Important components of ventilation include opening windows and doors, using air exchangers; using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, using attic ventilation fans, and dryer vents.

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