Ventilation and apartments

Ventilation and apartment living

The air we Breathe

           You have heard the saying “you are what you eat” well the same can be said for the air you breathe. You are consuming air to function, be it good clean air or poor dirty air. If you take in dirty air your body has to the filter and process all the bad elements before it can use it.  Would you drink a glass of dirty water with bits floating in it? No!  So why use dirty air.

When you go outside you take in air that can be cleaner with less pollutants. The co2 level should be around 420 parts per million and and pollutants are well diluted. Now when you move inside the air in this confined space can become very polluted if no form of ventilation is provided. Because we are breathing out Co2, moisture and other elements, the house may have other contaminants itself, chemicals from furniture and fittings, dangerous particles from cooking, and the list goes on.

This is particularly important in apartments due to the number of dwellings together and the showering, washing, drying, cooking and the number of people together.

The fix is easy! Open the windows and let fresh air blow through.  Yes we should, but this is not alway possible. Close the windows and the air very quickly becomes like that glass of water.

Apartments should have some form of ventilation, extractor fans in the utility, kitchen and bathrooms together with vents in the windows or walls to allow fresh air in.  This is a minimum and will not always remove the bad air.

Below are some practical ways to improve the air in your home.


1. The signs of a problem

Condensation is the first sign of poor ventilation. If this persists and lingers on the glass this will give rise to mould growth and the release of spores into the air. You can see condensation on glass but it will also be on other surfaces that are not that easy to see. Any colder surface lower than 16 oC will promote mould growth.

You may find the air "stuffy" This is bad air and this is your body sensing this and telling you it needs fresher air.

When you awake in the morning and you fell “grotty” and slow to awake this is another tell tale sign.

condensation on window

2. Some solutions for poor air


 The ideal situation is to install a heat recovery and ventilation system which would remove the air from the bathrooms, kitchen and utility  dump it outside removing the heat or cool from the air and transfer it to filtered fresh air from exterior and send it to the living and sleeping areas.

Now this is only practical if you are building or doing major renovation or if you have access to the complete attic space.

Layout for a heat recovery and ventilation system

3. Central extraction ventilation CMEV

         This type of ventilation is extraction only. The machine is connected via 90mm semi rigid ducting to each bathroom, kitchen and utility. It will monitor the air from each and ramp up and down depending on humidity. You also have the option of boosting the extraction with a switch located centrally.

So when you extract you must replace. The replacement air must come in through vents in the wall or vents in the windows.

It has the advantage of being a much cheaper option than previous as there is no heat recovery and it has halve the amount of ducting.

Now this is only practical if you are building or doing major renovation or if you have access to the complete attic space.

Central extraction unit CMEV

4. Room Ventilation dMVHR

Decentralised Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery  (dMVHR)

This is a clever unit for anyone that has no or poor ventilation. It will ventilate a room up to 30m2. It fits in a hole in the wall either new or existing. Its function is to change the air in the room but not loose any (or very little 3%) heat or cool in your room, thus saving you money on heating and cooling costs. The other benefit of this unit is that it filters the air on the way in and can be fitted with pollen reducing filters for anyone suffering from allergies. It is exceptionally cheap to run only using 5w of power. 

5. The choice is yours

Enjoy your indoors

It should be as fresh, comfortable and safe  for you and your family. Life work and play in an environment you enjoy. Make your body happy and give it the clean air it needs.

Only when you have it you will realise what it is.

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