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Homeowner’s Guide: Ventilation Terms

Here in San Antonio, having a tight home can be a double-edged sword. For example, during our long cooling season, your well-sealed house will keep conditioned air inside and minimize energy losses. At the same time, it will trap pollutants, allergens, and excess moisture, which can cause structural damage and mold growth. Ventilation allows your energy-efficient home to have its moist stale air replaced with fresh outdoor air. To help you get a better understanding of this, here’s a quick guide to common ventilation terms.

  • Cubic feet per minute (cfm) — This is the amount of air that enters a particular space in a minute. You can obtain the recommended cfm rate that your home’s living space should be ventilated at by adding one to the number of your bedrooms, multiplying the result by 7.5, and then adding 3 percent of the conditioned floor area to it.
  • Natural ventilation — It refers to the uncontrolled movement of air into and out of your home through small holes and cracks. Open doors and windows also provide natural ventilation.
  • Spot ventilation — This ventilation system removes pollutants or moisture at specific spots in your home. For example, exhaust fans deliver this form of ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens. Spot ventilation is commonly used to supplement other types of ventilation.
  • Whole-house ventilation — The system involves the use of a series of ducts and fans to provide controlled ventilation throughout your home.
  • Energy recovery systems — These ventilation systems offer a controlled method of ventilating your home while reducing energy loss. They help lower air conditioning costs by transferring heat from the incoming air to the exhaust air. In the winter, they use the warm, outgoing exhaust air to heat the colder incoming stream of air. These systems are classified into two: energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs).

When a ventilation system is designed properly, it boosts your home’s air quality without downgrading energy efficiency. If you have any questions about any of the ventilation terms above, contact us at Beyer Boys. For more than 25 years, we’ve been helping homeowners in the San Antonio area meet their home comfort needs.