Symptoms of inoperative ventilation in a residential building

Efficient ventilation is an absolute prerequisite for a comfortable home. Nevertheless, this topic is still being disregarded, which results in serious mistakes being made both in the construction of the building and in its subsequent exploitation. In the USA, gravitational ventilation dominates, which is based on chimneys and traditional room ventilation (by tilting windows). This is not a bad solution, but only on condition that the ventilation has been properly designed and that all ventilation ducts are clear and not obstructed. This article will tell you about typical symptoms of poor ventilation in a residential building.
Very high air humidity
This can be verified with the simplest hygrometer. Of course, in summer and autumn, when the humidity outside is high, it is difficult to expect the building to be different. Gravity ventilation has great limitations in this area, and tilting windows causes the building to draw moist air from outside.
The problem begins when high humidity in the rooms persists all year round, even during the heating season. If you have values of 70-80% in winter and the laundry is dried for several days, you can be sure that the ventilation does not work.
Mushrooms and moulds
The appearance of fungi and mould on walls (usually in corners), furniture, books and carpets is the clearest alarm signal. These parasites feel great in very high humidity. If you notice that black spots have appeared on the wall and the room has a characteristic fungus smell, take a quick look at the ventilation efficiency.
Condensation of water vapour on windows
In winter, this is quite common and is due to the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the glass. The condensation of water on a large area of the window indicates that the room is not sufficiently ventilated.
Frequent infections
Is your family very often ill, complaining about rhinitis, headaches, hoarseness? This can be called the syndrome of a sick building. Living in a house with poor ventilation is a ready recipe for continuous catch of infections. You must not underestimate this!
Unpleasant odour
When you enter the house, do you feel the smell of fungus and rancidity? No doubt: ventilation does not work, because in well-ventilated rooms such fragrance effects are not allowed to occur.
What can you do if you find that ventilation is not working properly? Start by calling the chimney sweep, who will check that the ventilation ducts are open. If everything is fine in theory, change your habits, ventilate your rooms more often, especially when cooking and drying laundry. Consider installing ventilators in your windows or, if you are preparing for a major overhaul, investing in a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system (recuperation).

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