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    Ventilation systems - everything you need to know

    1. Ventilation systems - what do you need to know?

    The comfort of any home largely depends on the quality of the air. How you feel is affected by the temperature, while your health is impacted by how clean the air is. We can improve air circulation in a room by opening windows or by positioning furniture in a certain way, although airing the room every now and again is not always enough. In such cases, it is necessary to invest in artificial ventilation. Smaller buildings generally have several ventilation devices functioning as a decentralized system, meaning there should be one ventilation unit in each room. Individual energy recovery units can also be added to these devices. For new builds and larger buildings in general, a centralized system is much more suitable. This comprises a central ventilation unit, a network of ducts, and ventilation openings. This central unit performs energy recovery, moisture control, and heating or cooling of the air.

    Ventilation
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    1.1. Ventilation of a room

    It is easiest to ventilate some rooms with a single-room ventilation unit. This is what wall mount ventilation fans are for. They are installed about 30 cm below ceiling level and allow the unhindered circulation of air. The fan power is set so that all the air in the room is replaced in one hour (one air change per hour). Of course, more than one fan may have to be installed to achieve this.

    1.2. Ventilation of an apartment

    When you want to ventilate an entire apartment, you can do so using a centralized ventilation system or individual units in each room. The system should be set up so that the air flows from those rooms requiring the most ventilation, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or toilet, to those requiring the least, such as the bedrooms or living room.

    1.3. Ventilation of a house

    Ventilation of an entire house can be achieved using carefully positioned single-room ventilation units, although a centralized system is always preferable. Here, too, the air must flow from those rooms that are constantly used to those that are less frequently used. An energy recovery unit is also recommended for houses as it reduces heat losses while the air is being filtered.

    1.4. Benefits

    Untreated air contains all kinds of impurities (dust particles, mites, pollen, etc), as well as less oxygen. Since we spend most of our time indoors, it’s vital for our health that we breathe clean air when we’re inside. Experts say that every morning all the rooms should be aired for at least ten minutes, which would replace about 70% of the air. The alternative is artificial ventilation, which constantly feeds fresh air into a space.

    1.5. Downsides

    While it is true that ventilation has a highly beneficial effect on our health, by removing hot air from rooms, large amounts of energy are lost and this results in higher heating costs. If we rely on natural ventilation, these costs are partially reduced by rapidly airing the room, which replaces the air but doesn’t cool down the surfaces. When it comes to artificial ventilation, however, an energy recovery unit is a must as it retains some of the heat during the air exchange.

    2. Ventilation systems - choosing a supplier

    Just like when choosing professionals for any job you need doing, here too the choice of supplier should depend above all on their expertise and experience. First, get advice on possible solutions for your house or apartment. The answers you get from the various suppliers will tell you a lot about their expertise. In addition, on our portal, Daibau.ng, you can find the references of those suppliers who liaise with us along with the opinions and comments of their previous clients. Send an enquiry via the portal to the ones you choose and wait for their quotes.

    3. Single-room or centralized ventilation?

    3.1. Single-room ventilation

    This type of ventilation system acts on a room-by-room basis using stand-alone units, but it can also be centralized. These individual units are great when we’re talking about renovation projects or when installing a centralized system is impossible. The units are actually fans that replace the air in the room. They are fitted in openings in the wall or somewhere where they have contact with the outdoor environment.

    3.2. Single-room energy recovery

    Single-room ventilation results in considerable heat loss, but this can be reduced to some extent by using energy recovery units. However, individual units are less efficient than a centralized one and more expensive since there are more of them.

    3.3. Centralized ventilation

    The main part of a centralized ventilation system is the central unit. It is connected to all the rooms via a network of ducts. These ducts can be installed in a suspended ceiling or fitted in dry screed panels or concrete screeding. The diameter of the ducts and vents must be suitable for the intended air flow; if it isn’t, the system will only produce noise and a draught. A centralized ventilation system requires careful planning and is therefore more suitable for new builds and public spaces that can be quickly adapted, such as industrial facilities and public buildings with suspended ceilings. This type of system is easy to maintain because only the filter needs replacing regularly.

    3.4. Centralized energy recovery

    The efficiency of a centralized ventilation system is increased by a central energy recovery unit. It basically heats the cold supply air using the warm exhaust air and can make use of up to 70% of the heat. Energy recovery ventilation significantly reduces heating costs. By adding special devices, it is also possible to humidify or dehumidify the air.

    4. Natural or artificial ventilation?

    4.1. Natural ventilation

    Very often the question arises as to whether natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation is better? If a building is not airtight, there is continuous airflow. Natural ventilation does not require any investment, but it does rely on manual control. It is also not effective if the difference between day and night temperatures is small and if the building is poorly insulated. In essence, it’s only really suitable for smaller spaces.

    4.2. Mechanical ventilation

    Mechanical ventilation uses fans to pass air through vents. The simplest ventilation systems are bathroom fans that remove air from the room and create a vacuum that sucks in fresh air from the outside. Very often, duct fans such as cooker hoods or wall-mounted extractor fans are also used. Mechanical ventilation systems ensure that air quality and humidity is at a stable, optimal level. They also provide filtered air and operate silently and automatically. In addition, they can warm or cool a room.

    5. Ventilation with climate control

    5.1. Heating with a ventilation unit

    In addition to providing air that is always fresh, the biggest advantage of a ventilation system is that it can also heat or cool a room. Therefore, when installing it, care must be taken to ensure its dimensions are correct based on calculations of the required quantities of air and heat. Fresh and warm air is distributed to all rooms via a ducting network. Vents should be large enough to allow for the calculated flow of air. If not, it may lead to unwanted noise and draughts. Thanks to an energy recovery unit, heat losses are reduced, as some of the heat in the heat exchange core passes from the outgoing used ‘exhaust’ air to the fresh incoming ‘supply’ air.

    5.2. Cooling with a ventilation unit

    In addition to a space being heated via a ventilation system, it can also be cooled. Air can be cooled by means of a heat exchanger – a device that transfers heat from one element to another: soil, water, or air. For example, a good earth-air heat exchanger can cool 30°C to a pleasant 22°C. However, it is important that such systems have a good condensation drain and that the entire building is well-insulated. Air may be cooled by an energy recovery unit or air conditioning units. The most energy-efficient cooling system is via a heat pump, which also balances air humidity.

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