What You Should Know About Your Home Ventilation

How much do you really know about your home’s ventilation system? 

Home ventilation is something we all tend to forget about. It goes on while we go about our days unaware…until something goes wrong. 

Ventilation may not be noticeable, but it is certainly crucial. It directly affects both the quality of your air and your life at home! There is often significant room for improvement when it comes to ventilation in homes new and old 

Here’s what you need to know about your whole-house ventilation system. 

What is Whole-House Ventilation?

Whole-house ventilation is a method of indoor ventilation using a mechanical system. One or more fans and duct systems are used to remove stale air and supply fresh air from the outside into the house.  

There are a few different types of whole-house ventilation systems, each with their own benefits and costs: 

  1. Exhaust ventilation 
  2. Supply ventilation 
  3. Balanced ventilation 
  4. Energy recovery ventilation 

1. Exhaust Ventilation

Exhaust ventilation works by depressurizing your home by exhausting air from the house. While this occurs, fresh air that has been brought to the same temperature as the house (make-up air) is released inside. 

In typical models, a single fan is connected to a centrally located exhaust point. Other models can connect multiple fans that have been placed in several rooms, such as the bedroom or bathrooms. 

One potential drawback to this model is that pollutants could be drawn into the house along with fresh air: mould from crawlspaces, dust from attics or fumes and gases from fireplaces and connected garages. 

2. Supply Ventilation

As opposed to the exhaust systems, supply ventilation systems pressurize your home. This means that a fan is used to push outside air inside of the building while air leaks from intentional vents and ducts. Like exhaust systems, supply ventilation models usually consist of one fan and duct system. 

Supply systems minimize the number of pollutants entering living spaces because there is control over the air that enters the house. Pollen and dust are filtered from the outdoor air before entering. 

It is not recommended that this type of ventilation be used for extreme warm or cold climates, as the moisture could lead to mould or mildew. Supply ventilation is ideal for mild climates. 

3. Balanced Ventilation

Balanced ventilation systems are a combination of both exhaust and supply systems, but it neither pressurizes nor depressurizes your home. Fresh outside air and stale inside air are introduced and exhausted in equal quantities.  

The two fans and two duct systems are strategically placed throughout the house in order to expel air wherever moisture and pollutants tend to build up. Filters are also used to remove dust and pollen from the outside air before entering inside.  

Like exhaust and supply systems, balanced ventilation systems may need to mix the outdoor air with indoor air before entering the house. The downside of this is potentially higher heating and cooling costs.

4. Energy Recovery

Energy recovery ventilation systems provide a way to minimize the amount of energy lost while controlling the ventilation within the home. There are two types of energy recovery systems: HRVs and ERVs. 

  1. In the winter, heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) reheat incoming cold air from outdoors by mixing it with the indoor heated air. This reduces the amount of energy used by your furnace. The HRV will do the opposite in the summer, cooling down the incoming warm air.  
  2. Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) follow the same principle as HRVs, but with one key difference: they also transfer a certain amount of water vapour along with energy. This vapour is used to regulate the humidity inside the home.  

 Both ERV and HRV systems recover 60%-80% of energy exiting the system.  

Air Exchangers

HRVs and ERVs require small ventilation tools called air exchangers. An air exchanger mixes air drawn from inside and outside the house to heat the cold air or cool the warm. 

What Can Happen If Your Ventilation Isn’t Working

When your ventilation system is failing, it’s often difficult to notice the effects early on. However, a malfunctioning ventilator can lead to serious problems, including: 

  • Increasing CO2 levels inside the home
  • Moisture from cooking and running water building up inside the ducts  
  • Volatile organic compounds accumulating from furniture and building materials 

Why is this important? 

Well, when these kinds of things build up, it can damage both you home and your health. Poor indoor air quality can contribute to headaches, fatigue, allergies, dizziness, coughing, nausea or sinus congestion.  

It is important to try and spot these problems early on. 

Signs of Problems with Your Ventilation System

Ever noticed a strange draft that appeared out of nowhere, especially during the winter? This could be a sign of excess air infiltration 

Do you that you can smell your cooking in the kitchen but nowhere else? This could mean that air isn’t circulating effectively throughout the house.  

What about odours that just won’t seem to leave? Persistent smells and lack of circulation suggests that you have inadequate air exchange or very little ventilation.   

You can also have too much air ventilation, causing a room to become excessively humid or uncomfortably dry, depending on the season. It could be a sign that your air conditioner or furnace can’t keep up with the ventilator. 

As soon as you notice these signs, it is important to check your air ventilator for any issues or call a Home Comfort Specialist to take a look 


How to Protect Your Home from Flooding this Spring

Significant snow melt combined with heavy rainfalls spelled the recipe for disaster in many Northern Ontario communities this spring. Many roads in the Bracebridge area, Ontario’s main cottage country, were washed out by floodwaters, as water levels from nearby lakes rose dangerously high.  This prompted the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to activate a disaster recovery assistance program to the Ontario communities of Renfrew County, Pembroke, Bracebridge and Huntsville. 

Are spring floods the “new normal”? 

If floods across the province are the result of climate change, homeowners will have to consider how to adapt and take any prevention measures they can.  

Dealing with the aftermath of a flood can be a real headache. Basement flooding can cause millions of dollars in damage to personal property. Anyone who has ever experienced a flooded basement, realizes the misery of loss of personal value items that simply cannot be replaced. It is in the homeowner’s best interest to never experience a basement flood at all. 

If you have experienced flooding in your home  

If your home has been damaged by flooding, keep safe by not entering a flood-damaged basement until the utility company, fire department or licensed electrician has removed the home’s electrical meter from its socket. A licensed HVAC professional can advise you whether your heating and cooling system can be salvaged. Contact your insurance company for an assessment of the damage and for any recovery steps they can take as soon as possible. 

For same day or emergency service call 1-905-829-1296

What steps can you take to protect your home from basement flooding? 

Be Aware of Any Flood Risk in Your Area

Talk to your municipality about potential for flooding in your area. Find out what type of services you have to your home and if the municipality has a plan to address any flooding in your community. If you have experienced any flooding, it’s important to let your municipality know. The more reports that are filed from a given area the more resources are likely to be committed to understanding the problem. 

If your home is situated on a known flood plain, you may even consider relocating. When this is not possible, you will need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. 

Inspect the Plumbing in Your Home

Understanding how your home’s drainage and plumbing systems will help to reduce the risk of basement floods. To understand vital elements of your home’s plumbing system, such as your foundation’s drainage, sump pumps, sanitary and storm sewer laterals, and backflow valves, you may wish to engage a licensed plumber. 

Sump pumps, when maintained and working properly can safely pump excess water above and away from the foundation. If the pump cannot keep up or fails to operate (in the case of a power outage), the water eventually spills on to the basement floor. 

Be sure to have your sump pump maintained regularly to avoid preventable issues such as clogs, motor breakdown, and remote starter shorts during a flood.  

Installing a flood switch can save you time and money by stopping any highwater overflow before it becomes a problem. This simple inexpensive device can prevent an over-filled tank or pond from flooding and causing damage. 

Contact us today to book your repair, service or installation. 

Understand Your Insurance Coverage

It’s advisable to understand what your home insurance policy covers regarding plumbing before you are in a crisis situation. Does it offer coverage for sewer backups from the storm or sanitary sewer system? What about overland flooding due to heavy rainfall, or sump pump failure due to power outage. If you were to make a claim, how would it affect your rates, and your future insurability? 

Consider Waterproofing Your Basement

Waterproofing will protect your foundation, keeping moisture out and save you thousands in potential damage. If you are experiencing musky smells, mold, or water seeping through floors and walls in your basement, these are signs you may have an issue with your foundation’s waterproofing. 

Let one of our basement experts come and give you a free waterproofing estimate. 

Simple lifestyle changes that help 

  • Avoid pouring fats, oils, and grease down the drain 
  • Reduce household water use during heavy rains 
  • Avoid storage on your basement floor 
  • Avoid making the basement high-value living space 
  • Keep nearest outdoor catch basins clear of debris 
  • Seal the cracks in your foundation walls and floor 
  • Maintain you eavestroughs and downspouts

Be sure to take advantage of our spring specials and promotions on now until May 31, 2019. 

Why You Should Have Your Dryer Vent Professionally Cleaned

There’s one item you definitely don’t want to leave off your spring cleaning checklist – your dryer vent.  

You may think your dryer vent is clean because you empty lint after each load of laundry, but tiny bits of dryer lint sneak through the lint trap and build up inside your dryer vent over time 

Why do these tiny bits of lint matter? Safety, safety, safetyLint is extremely flammable. This accumulated lint reduces air flow to the dryer’s hot air vent, causing the appliance to operate at increasingly high temperatures, creating a serious fire hazard.  

Dryer fires are surprisingly commonA single spark can set ablaze at a moment’s notice, and the fire can quickly spread from the laundry room to the rest of your home.  

 Fortunately, dryer fires are preventable.  

Lint Trap vs. Dryer Vent – What’s the Difference?

The confusion typically lies in the difference between your lint trap and your dryer vent.  

Yes, they are two different things and yes, they should be cleaned differently.  

To put it simply, the lint trap is that thing your mother always bugged you about cleaning out. It’s the easilyaccessible tray that you clean out after every load of laundry – the lint you can see.  

The dryer vent is located behind the dryer and its purpose is to exhaust the heat from your dryer to the outside of your home. During a dryer cycle, lint can sneak past your lint trap and get caught in the dryer vent causing buildups – the lint you can’t see.

More Than Safety

While safety is the number one reason to have your dryer vent cleaned, it’s not the only reason. Lint build-up is not only dangerous, but it’s also expensive and annoying.

Having your dryer vent cleaned will:

1. Save you time

Last minute laundry – we’ve all done it. Whether it’s staring at the dryer waiting for your kid’s soccer jersey to dry so you’re not late for the game or waiting for your favourite pair of jeans before a night out, dryer times can really affect your day.

That’s why having your dryer vent cleaned is important. A clean dryer vent decreases wait times and makes your life easier. Lint build-up in dryer vents causes laundry to dry slower and takes up more of your time; having your dryer vent cleaned improves the efficiency of your dryer and makes your clothes dry in less time. 

2. Save you money

With less efficiency and longer drying times comes higher energy bills. When there is a build-up in your dryer vent, there is not enough hot air reaching your dryer and therefore more energy is spent trying to dry your clothes. Sometimes it can even take multiple cycles.

Having your dryer vent cleaned means you spend less money on energy bills and simply drying your clothes, and more on what you want.

3. Help your dryer last longer

Like many things in life, your dryer will work better if it’s properly cared for. Having your dryer vent cleaned is not only proper care, but it will also increase its lifespan and reduce repair costs.

If your dryer is working longer and harder to get a load of laundry done, its lifespan shortens. An overworked dryer puts a lot of wear and tear on the appliance, resulting in more frequent breakdowns and problems.

Should I Clean My Own Dryer Vent?

Some stores sell vacuum cleaner attachments that claim to be a DIY solution to dryer vent cleaning. They’re not.

There’s a reason why our technicians use a specially-designed, truck-mounted vacuum system for duct and dryer vent cleaning – an ordinary vacuum simply does not reach far enough or use enough force to give your dryer vent a thorough cleaning.

And that’s not just marketing from dryer vent cleaning companies! Some things just aren’t meant to be a DIY project, and dryer vent cleaning is one of them. It’s a matter of fire safety, your time and your money.

How Often Do I Need to Have My Dryer Vent Cleaned?

Having your dryer vents cleaned professionally is the only way to ensure your vents are clear of flammable lint. Dryer vents should be cleaned at least once a year.

The best way to remember? Pair it with your duct cleaning! When we provide our professional duct cleaning service, our technicians can also clear your dryer vents of accumulated lint – one less thing on your to-do list!