Basics About Ventilation

Basics About Ventilation

Homes and buildings need to breathe, and ventilation is the process that lets them. We break down what these systems do and how they help keep inhabitants healthy.

Ventilation Benefits

Having good home ventilation drastically increases the quality of life for those within the home.

Healthier Living Environment

Good ventilation ensures that the air breathed within the home is as healthy as possible. This includes the removal of pollutants, toxins, and allergens which commonly cause irritation or long-term health hazards to a home’s inhabitants. In addition, a cleaner supply of air has positive benefits for the mental health of individuals within the home.

Reduce Energy Costs

When a home is well-ventilated, temperature control efforts are more diversely spread throughout the home. This means that air conditioners and heaters don’t have to work as hard to keep designated areas the desired temperature. When appliances don’t work hard, their energy output is lowered, resulting in a tangible reduction to home energy bills over time.

A Stronger, Longer Lasting Home

A great benefit to home ventilation is the reduction of moisture and pollutants. When these are removed from the environment, the home is less susceptible to deterioration at the hands of these factors.

Ventilation: An Important Part of the Healthy Home Equation

Adding ventilation after sealing and insulating may seem counter productive, but it’s a critical component to building an efficient, healthy-home solution. The goal is to keep the good stuff (cool, clean air) in, and move the bad stuff (heat, moisture, indoor air pollution) out.

Types of Ventilation

While every home needs good ventilation, they also need the right type of ventilation. Most ventilation systems are either exhaust, supply, or a combination of the two. This means that they either take the air out, bring air in, or do both functions. Among these ventilation systems, there are three primary methods of ventilation currently used throughout the industry, and each one applies itself unique to better improve the quality of life for those experiencing its efforts.

Natural Ventilation

This ventilation system, as the name implies, is the natural movement of air currents and flows through a home uninfluenced by human technology. You can think of this system as the air flow which is delivered to the indoors through open windows, screen doors, doggy doors, and other fenestrations that aren’t specifically designed for ventilation but still inherently encounter natural air. Natural air ventilation is used in nearly all homes to some degree, although some older homes may be more reliant on it than more modern structures.

Spot Ventilation

This ventilation system utilizes technology to provide ventilation to very specific “spots” throughout the home. Most often, these forms of ventilation are used in basements, attics, and other moisture-prone areas of a home. Exhaust fans, often found in kitchens and bathrooms, are another form of spot ventilation, as they quickly remove polluted air from their isolated location. Spot ventilation, while effective, is rarely the sole form of ventilation in a home, and is best used as a supplement to additional ventilation systems.

Whole-Home Ventilation

This ventilation system is the most common form of ventilation found in modern housing. Whole-home ventilation utilizes a series of exhaust ducts and vents throughout the home to provide man-made, deliberate ventilation and circulated air flow. These ventilation systems boast the ability to be managed, controlled, and modified entirely by the homeowner or a licensed contractor.

Hazards of Poor Ventilation


The most common side effect of bad ventilation is mold. When a home lacks proper air flow, the moisture in the air is allowed to rest within the walls and hard surfaces, creating a suitable environment for mold cells to grow. This is why basements, sheds, and attics are so consistently riddled by mold issues — they often have the worst airflow.

Moisture Damage

Moisture can cause additional damage to the structures of the home itself. Siding, banisters, columns, and walls are all susceptible to moisture damage, with the amount of damage depending on the material used within the structure. Generally, moisture damage results in a weakened home structure, causing chips, decay, and eventual deterioration.


Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that is emitted through the soil underneath a home over time. When exposed to humans, it can cause long-term damage to the respiratory system. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States for non-smokers and is particularly prevalent in older homes.