Heating and Air Conditioning

Wet Area Ventilation Options

Condensation in your home can damage materials and surfaces. When left unchecked for long periods, it will lead to fungal growth. Some parts of your home generally experience excessive wetness due to the nature of activities being carried out there. In particular, bathing, showering, drying clothes and cooking generate excessive levels of moisture. When not checked or removed, the moisture in the air will tend to condense as water whenever it comes into contact with any cold surfaces within your house.

The subsequent condensation in the house will:

– Create potential for fungal growth

– Steams up your mirrors and windows

– Cause deterioration of any moisture-sensitive materials in the house such as fittings and fixtures

The good thing is that all this can be managed by a combination of wet area ventilation, heating and suitable insulation. The two options that are available for removing polluted air and bringing in fresh air are passive ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Generally, passive ventilation is healthier although it could also be employed together with mechanical ventilation.

What does Passive Ventilation Involve?

Passive ventilation systems utilize a sequence of air vents in your exterior walls to allow outdoor air to gain entry into the house in a controlled manner. Natural airflow plus the differences in temperature and wind between the indoor and the outdoors, aid in drawing in fresh air and in circulating it throughout the home.

The incoming fresh and dry air forces the warmer, polluted, wet, humid air into the vertical ducts leading into the attic. From there, the air is propelled to the outside. Fresh-air vents have been so designed so as to slow down the incoming air and then disperse it indoors.

Benefits of Passive Ventilation

– Doesn’t require electricity, hence energy efficient

– Saves energy and hence inexpensive

– Cuts down on emissions of carbon monoxide.

– It’s quiet with minimal noise

– Low-maintenance and no operating costs since it require no moving parts

– After installation, only cleaning periodical filters is needed

Drawbacks of Passive Ventilation

– Largely dependent on the temperature outdoor

– Functions best during colder seasons

– Used alone can’t extract all humidity from laundry rooms and bathrooms

– Ideally ought to be used in conjunction with a good heat-recovery unit

Placing the Air Vents

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has laid down requirements to make sure that your house will not permit the entrance of moisture or unwanted water. The BCA is maintained and updated by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). When locating your air vents, this must be done in compliance with the BCA Code. For example, in bathrooms, the vents ought to be located as low as feasible to allow the fresher, drier air to gain entry and then push more humid air upwards into thermal chimneys.

The installation of air ducts or vents in your home is certainly not a DIY job. You should engage a professional who is well versed with the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act). Additionally, the person doing your ventilation should be aware of the provisions of the AS/NZS 3666 – Air handling and water systems of buildings.

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