If you’re at all familiar with HVAC, then you know it deals with heating and air conditioning. But many homeowners forget about the “V” which stands for ventilation. And this essential component is responsible for renewing the air in your home, venting stale, interior air to the outside and bringing fresh air in. Without proper ventilation in place, your indoor air can become decidedly unhealthy. That said, you might not be interested in using ventilation that requires energy, boosting your utility bills along with your carbon footprint. The good news is that there are all kinds of options for natural home ventilation methods. Here are a few you might want to try.
The place to start, as you may have guessed, is with opening your windows. It’s truly surprising how many people fail to open any windows in their home on a regular basis. But if you keep the windows closed all the time and you don’t have another form of adequate ventilation (if your heater or air conditioner are off and no circulation is happening), your interior air is going to become stale. Not only are you using up available oxygen and creating carbon dioxide every time you breathe, but dust, dander, and other particulates can build up in the meantime, contaminating your indoor air. So start by opening windows, and make sure that you open them on opposite sides of the house to encourage cross-ventilation.
You might be surprised to learn that your architecture and landscaping can also play a role in natural ventilation practices. For example, overhangs and architectural louvers can actually help to direct air flow around your home into the interior. And features like balconies and courtyards can serve the same function. This isn’t to say you need to overhaul your home layout to include an atrium, but adding awnings over windows and doors could help. And these features can also keep direct sunlight at bay during the summer, reducing interior heat and potentially increasing airflow.
Landscaping can help, as well. For example, electing to install foliage instead of paved areas can make a huge difference in the air flow around your home since plant life absorbs less heat than manmade materials. And if you hire a professional to plan your landscaping, you might even think about installing earth mounds. Having these structures in your yard can help to funnel breezes towards your house, increasing air flow through your home every time you open windows and doors.
Water features could provide another element in your battle against stale indoor air. You might think that fountains or water walls are merely decorative, but when breezes pass flowing water before entering your home, the air is cooled on the way in. Of course, there are plenty of other methods of circulating air and ventilating your home. You could, for example, rely on air conditioning efficiency, thanks to the latest and most eco-friendly AC units. But if you want to forego energy-reliant options as much as possible, try some of the many natural home ventilation methods out there instead.