Ventilation Concepts

Ventilation Concepts

Today much is said about ventilation, not because it’s a new phenomena, but because homes, and buildings in general are sealed much tighter.

In the past natural ventilation existed as a consequence of the building technology employed, houses had air gaps around timber framed doors and windows with fixed plaster wall vents allowing for volume displacement and less plastics and synthetics were used in the home by way of furniture and furnishings.

Ventilation is not about currents of air cascading down corridors but a means of air washing the stale air out of rooms, and out of the home, in a proportional and positive manner.
Trickle ventilation by natural displacement is what works best. A balance is struck, only as much as is needed, no more, no less, with the added advantage of being able to adjust the ventilation flow.

The most common indicator of ventilation being required is when odours are sensed on initial entry into the house. Whether summer or winter, oxygen replenishment by way of ventilation, is essential to family well being.
Obviously it is desirable to keep loss of heat to a minimum during the winter months but the analogy ‘you have to lose a little to gain a lot’ is apt here. A balance of exchange is essential so as to maintain better air quality in the home at all times.

Asthmatics are probably the most natural human indicator as to the air quality in a home by nature of their innate sensitivity.

To filter the air is something you do where the particulate or offending matter is identified as being detrimental to the individual and is therefore requires removal. However by filtering the air people are less able to cope with general ambient conditions with the individual being slowly consigned to live in a bubble like environment as the ongoing development of natural resistance is being inhibited.

Natural living, is a case of gaining one thing at the surrender of another.

Air quality is easily overlooked because it has no visual presence but discomfort can be easily sensed when that feeling of well being is interfered with, just as you always notice when a house has a ‘good feel’ about it.

Using natural ventilation is how this exchange is implemented, without artificial ‘switched on’ means such as fans for either ingress or egress although it can be argued that this manner may be essential to apartment buildings.

Architects and designers employ natural ventilation techniques and building processes that essentially enable a house to aspirate, to breathe, to ventilate, using products and incorporating them into the overall composition suitable to this end.

The unfortunate thing is that when budget constraints arise the first things to be discarded are the pro active items, and very often at the request of the client, and not the architect or designer.

schematic of venting different areas of configuration

It’s the simple things that have the biggest impact and one of the simplest is the ceiling vent or register.

Much is said about eating the right foods, keeping fit, weight down, less preservatives and organic produce…..very little, if any, is said about air quality in the home.

Added to this is the mind set of those who believe one product is the same as any other that shares the same word description despite the obvious difference in the design and materials used. When they insist on accepting the misconception because of cost and then claim deception when discovering the detrimental aspects of their choice.

The overall reality is this, there will be fewer trades people able to repair or service products in the future particularly if those products are made to a price and are short term.
The cost of employing good and experienced trades people will be high and ever increasing so keep your reliance on them to a minimum by using well made products suited to the circumstance.

The future cost of replacement will continue to rise, and the chances of repairing of the product being non existent particularly if the product cannot be repaired.

So when considering products with which to build your home, let quality, and not price, be your governing factor. Do without until you can afford something of known reliability or history.

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