Forgetting the ‘V’ in HVAC

When it comes to the acronym ‘HVAC’, most people refer only to the ‘H’ (heating) and the ‘A/C’ (air conditioning).

But the ‘V’ (ventilation) is important too – especially with new homes, which are built tighter than ever.

Energy codes require higher levels of air sealing and blower door tests to verify air tightness. And tight homes need mechanical ventilation, especially in bathrooms. Imagine stepping out of a nice hot shower, wiping the mirror with your towel in order to see yourself. Of course the hot steam produced the foggy mirror, but where does the excess moisture go? Without proper ventilation, it goes behind the walls, the tiles, and the floor, all of which can lead to mold and mildew. Any HVAC technician worth his weight in salt understands the importance of proper ventilation fans that protect against the harmful effects of the mold and mildew. They understand that a fan does more than just remove steam. Proper ventilation needs to be powerful enough to remove all of the steam. And if a bathroom is not located on an outside wall, an HVAC contractor can easily run ductwork to remove the moisture. Finally, an HVAC technician should offer a brief explanation of how long to run the bathroom fan in order to properly ventilate bathrooms. Most people leave the fan on only while they’re still in the bathroom. But the best practice is to leave the fan on for up to an hour in order to properly ventilate the room. A ventilation expert should emphasize that by venting out the excess moisture, you are actually contributing to your family’s health. And if you can’t stand the noise that the bathroom ventilator fan makes, for a few extra dollars, you can have a quiet bathroom ceiling fan installed.

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