By Kira Jopp on Tue 10 December 2019
Top Tips To Designing A Good Ventilation System
A sign of a good ventilation system is that it’s unnoticeable. A perfectly designed ventilation system is quiet, energy efficient and provides the property and its occupants healthy, fresh air.
The following tips will help you find the perfect ventilation system or extractor fan for your circumstances:
1. Hire a professional designer and competent installer
Designing a ventilation system requires an attention to detail and knowledge of the latest Building Regulations and construction standards. Ensure that you choose an architect or builder that has sufficient knowledge to design and install the ventilation system so that it operates unnoticeably in the background.
Choosing an NICEIC approved ventilation installer guarantees that your ventilation systems will be installed as per best practices.
2. Choose the correct MEV/MVHR system/extractor fan
When choosing your ventilation unit, it is imperative that you select a unit that meets your needs and Building Regulations when installed. This ensures that you and your home receive the sufficient level of ventilation as outlined by Part F of the Building Regulations.
Choosing an extractor fan or whole house system, such as MEV or MVHR, which can adapt to changes in the dwelling such as humidity levels, means that you’re not wasting energy by ventilating the property when no one is using it. Furthermore, these controls also guarantee the ventilation level increases when humidity levels increase, as increased humidity can lead to damp and mould if left unchecked.
3. Responsive functionality of the unit
It doesn’t make sense to have your extractor fan or MVHR unit running at the same level all the time. The ventilation level could be insufficient, leading to damp, mould and the build-up of harmful airborne pollutants. Alternatively, the ventilation level can be set too high, which wastes energy.
There are various options for controlling your extractor fan or ventilation unit (MEV or MVHR). These include:
Integrating humidity or CO2 sensors
Integrating sensors with your MEV or MVHR unit gives you an intelligent ventilation system that responds to changes and occupancy levels of the dwelling; guaranteeing you healthy and energy efficient ventilation.
Many high quality extractor fans can also be set to respond to changes in room usage, be it through fluctuations in humidity levels or through motion sensors. This type of functionality guarantees that the fan isn’t needlessly extracting when the room isn’t in use, but also swiftly removes any excess humidity from the room when it is in use.
4. Thermal efficiency of your MVHR unit
The most important characteristic of selecting your MVHR unit is its thermal efficiency. Thermal efficiency refers to the amount of heat that the MVHR unit recovers from the extracted air and in turns pre-warms the incoming supply air. The higher the thermal efficiency of the unit, the less energy is required to heat the property.
High quality MVHR units have a thermal efficiency of over 90%, with some even able to recover up to 95% of otherwise wasted heat.
It is recommended to have duct runs as short as possible, as long and complicated ductwork is expensive and leads to increased noise levels and reduced efficiency of the system. Furthermore, it is important that ductwork is installed in accordance with Part F of the Building Regulations.
Best practice would have the ductwork installed in warm rooms, inside the property. Ceiling cavities and walls provide good routes for the ducting to take. If the ductwork has to go through a colder area such as a loft space, then it is important to have the ducting insulated to prevent condensation and heat loss.
It is also important to pay attention to the sound levels coming from the ducting. If the ducting is passing through living areas such as living rooms and bedrooms, then sound attenuation may be required so to avoid the system disturbing the occupants.
When attaching your grille to the outside wall, it is important to ensure that there is 90% free air movement from the grille and the ducting remains clear of dust and debris. This guarantees that the fan or ventilation system operates at its optimal level and ventilates at the required levels outlined by Approved Document Part F of the Building Regulations.
6. Air Circulation
Having proper air circulation around the house is extremely important to the success of any ventilation system that you have. By ensuring that every wet room (toilet, bathroom, kitchen or en-suite) has extraction levels meeting Building Regulations and each living room (lounge, bedroom etc.) has a proper ventilation supply, you will guarantee that the air within the property remains at healthy levels at all times.
Proper supply air removes the need to having to use windows to freshen up the air in the property; although it doesn’t prevent you from doing so. This is due to the supply air continually freshening up the air within the habitable rooms; maintaining a fresh and comfortable indoor air environment.
By undertaking regular maintenance of your ventilation system, you guarantee the long-term, optimal performance for your system. Just changing the filters of your MVHR unit or dusting the ductwork for your extractor fan every 3-6 months helps to prevent the build-up of dirt and pollutants inside the ventilation system.
Ensuring that the ductwork is clear of debris, you make sure your extractor fan is able to perform to the installed performance requirements of the Building Regulations.
If you allow the dirt to build up, the extractor fan won’t be able to remove the moisture and airborne pollutants from the home, which can lead to mould and damp to build-up, which has a knock effect on your health and the health of the fabric of the home.