Venting: Overview
Your home needs ventilation - the exchange of indoor air with outdoor air - to reduce indoor pollutants, moisture, and odors. Contaminants such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, and radon can accumulate in poorly ventilated homes, causing health problems. Excess moisture in a home can generate high humidity levels. High humidity levels can lead to mold growth and structural damage to your home.

Additionally, in winter, improper ventilation can encourage the formation of ice dams on your roof, which can cause expensive damage to your home.

Different strategies can exist for developing a ventilation plan for your house.

Energy Stary Logo Supply Ventilation

A typical supply ventilation system has a fan and duct system that introduces fresh air into usually one - but preferably several - rooms of the home that residents occupy most often (e.g., bedrooms, living room). This system may include an adjustable window or wall vents in other rooms.

Energy Stary Logo Exhaust Ventilation

Exhaust ventilation systems are most applicable in cold climates. Typically, an exhaust ventilation system is composed of a single fan connected to a centrally located, single exhaust point in the house. A preferable design option is to connect the fan to ducts from several rooms (preferably rooms where pollutants tend to be generated, such as bathrooms).

 

Exhaust Ventilation

Energy recovery ventilation systems provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs.

sources: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11830

For additional information, here are two articles that you may find of interest:

"Give your Attic a Breath of Fresh Air"

"Moisture Condensation"

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