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Constructing Your Ideal Home: Fresh Air Intake

Constructing Your Ideal Home: Fresh Air Intake

November 27, 2023

The feeling and smell of fresh air in your home is important for many reasons. But the most tangible reason is that your home never smells stale and stuffy. That’s what fresh air intake does … it’s the process of removing unwanted stale air from your home and replacing it with fresh air from the outside that’s been cleaned and heated or cooled. According to Duane Sanders, director of construction at Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods, there are three ways to accomplish this.

  • Exhaust only

Exhaust-only systems use kitchen, bath and/or laundry fans to exhaust stale air locally from the house. The exhausted air is replaced by air pulled in through leaks in the building envelope or through passive vents. The fans are set to run continuously or intermittently on timer controls.

  • Supply

Central fan-integrated supply ventilation provides outdoor air through an outdoor air intake ducted to the return side of the home’s central heating and cooling system air handler for filtering, heating or cooling, and distribution to the house through the HVAC system ducts.

  • Balanced

Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) simultaneously bring in outdoor air and exhaust indoor air, with both ducts passing through a heat exchanger for heat recovery. Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) function like HRVs but move to transfer both heat and moisture. ERVs and HRVs may be connected to the home’s central air handler and duct system or independently ducted.

Ideal builders use a combination of supply and exhaust ventilation, says Sanders. An air cycler is tied to the HVAC system, which monitors the run time of the system and cycles a damper on and off to ensure the home is getting the required fresh air into the house. We’ve found this works best for our climate. By pulling in a percentage of fresh air every hour, it helps us ensure we’re not pulling bad air in through unwanted locations. “We can be sure the air we’re breathing inside the home has been filtered through the HVAC system,” Sanders continued. This works in combination with exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen which can be turned on and off by the homeowner to remove unwanted air from the home.

All homes build up unwanted air. So why is fresh air intake important for energy efficiency?

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emissions from household chemicals and furnishings that can become toxic in high concentrations. Maintaining adequate ventilation can help control concentrations of existing VOCs within a home; it’s nearly impossible to eliminate VOCs from indoor air.
  • When humid air is cooled quickly and can no longer hold all the moisture in the form of water vapor, condensation occurs. Water droplets may appear on windows, walls or other surfaces. If moisture inside the home is not controlled over time, you may discover peeling wallpaper, mold and mildew and even structural damage to wood supports. Good ventilation can help regulate temperature and control moisture levels.

Rest assured, Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods has done the research to implement the plan best suited for Oklahoma homes. Ideal has built more than 12,000 new homes in central Oklahoma and continues to grow. We believe in premiere quality and customer service and proudly stand behind each home we build. Ventilation and energy-efficiency are important to the construction process that ensures your new home will be truly ideal.