With all the ventilation options available to homeowners, there is one that has gained a lot of popularity recently—natural ventilation. But is it really worth considering, and what are the pros and cons you can get from it?
Natural ventilation gives you better humidity control, lower operating and maintenance costs, better health and wellness, and access to daylight. However, it’s highly dependent on varying external climatic conditions, and can be challenging to install in properties that are already built.
We’ll discuss all of the advantages and disadvantages of natural ventilation to help you decide whether you should have it in your home. Stick around because we will clarify what all the pros and cons are.
Advantages of Natural Ventilation
Natural ventilation is one option that many homeowners consider when trying to upgrade their homes or build a new one. It is especially advantageous for new homes, where you can make natural ventilation an integral part of the design. For some, the idea of spending far less than HVAC systems is more than enough for them to consider this option. Aside from this, here are other advantages that you can get from it:
Better Humidity Control
When indoor air is too humid, moisture can quickly build-up, and it can pose a higher risk of damage to your electronics and furniture. Too much moisture in the air can also create the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and fungus to grow. When left unchecked, it can produce a musty or moldy smell around your house.
Natural ventilation allows homeowners to have access to continuous airflow that provides better humidity control. With this, you can save even more money because you won’t have to invest in dehumidifiers just to improve the air quality in your house.
Lower Operating & Maintenance Costs
We know that it can be costly to operate and maintain HVAC systems. If you need dehumidifiers, it can cost even more to make your house more comfortable. These can quickly add up to your utility expenses, and not to mention the cost of maintaining them for better efficiency and comfort.
The cost of hiring an HVAC technician to help you with installation, maintenance, and repairs can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour! That’s only for the labor, and you’d still need to consider the parts that you may have to replace to keep your system working efficiently.
Natural ventilation still needs a bit of maintenance, but it doesn’t cost as much as HVAC systems do. Lower operating and maintenance costs only means that there’s more for you to spend on upgrading, maintaining, or renovating other parts of your house.
Better Health and Wellness
Too much humidity creates the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and fungus to grow. Aside from this, other elements in the air can cause various respiratory illnesses. But with natural ventilation, you can easily improve air quality within your house. Sure, you can have air purifiers with your HVAC systems, but it also adds up to your monthly costs.
Natural ventilation makes you and your family breathe cleaner air and feel more comfortable. It can also help you improve your focus at work. This benefit isn’t something that we considered before, but now that more people are engaged in remote work environments, it’s definitely worth considering for your house.
Easier Access to Better Daylight
Natural ventilation is usually achieved by opening windows and doors. These usually contain glass (at least partially), so by adding windows or doors to your home you will not only be improving the natural ventilation in your house but also the amount of daylight that gets in it.
Reducing carbon footprint and dependence on fossil-fuel always has a positive impact on the environment. Unfortunately, most options that allow us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels come at a high cost. In fact, some of them may even take decades to pay off.
Natural ventilation allows you to reduce your carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuel without spending a lot, especially in new buildings where the cost of natural ventilation is almost neglectable.
Disadvantages of Natural Ventilation
Despite all the advantages of natural ventilation, many homeowners are still reluctant to have one. That’s because it’s highly variable and depends on the area. Moreover, it can be a costly undertaking for existing buildings. To help you decide whether it’ll be good for you, here are four disadvantages of using natural ventilation:
When it’s too cold outside, your house will be too cold. In the summer, you’ll experience higher indoor temperature. Although some people prefer to have minimal variance on the outdoor and indoor temperature, it still gives you less option for climate control.
If the weather becomes too hot or cold, there’ll be fewer options for you to make your house a comfortable place. So, despite all the advantages that you can get from natural ventilation, it still relies on external climatic conditions, which may not be favorable in some areas.
Dependent on Natural Forces
Natural ventilation means you’ll have to rely on natural forces, making it difficult to control airflow direction. Without a well-sustained negative pressure in the rooms, uncontrolled airflow can easily contaminate other areas of your house.
You can deal with this issue using particulate filters, but these can reduce the ventilation rate. So, sometimes, using natural ventilation for your house can force you to make compromises just to get the best out of it.
Cost in existing homes
As we have mentioned before, adding natural ventilation to existing homes can be an expensive undertaking. That is because you will need to add openings to several walls, which is a big job and can mean a big expense.
Depending on the type of home you have, it might even be difficult to achieve natural ventilation. For example, homes with only one orientation will get a much lower benefit from natural ventilation than homes with two or more orientations. This is because more than one orientation helps the wind to circulate easily.
Possibility of Intrusions
Finally, since natural ventilation relies on continuous airflow, there will be multiple weak spots in your house. Criminals can use your windows or doors to enter your house. Aside from this, you may also have to deal with rodents and insects that can use the dryers and attic vents as entry points.
There are precautions that can be taken in order to minimize this. For the insects and rodents, screens can be installed that let the air pass but the wholes are too smalls for rodents or even insects to fit through. As for the criminals, this should be a problem mostly at night and, in that case, you may as well have the openings closed no matter what.
Natural ventilation is an excellent option for many homeowners, but it’s not the perfect solution for everyone, especially if you want to use it in an existing home. Although the advantages that you can get from it trumps the other options you have for your house, there are crucial things that you need to consider before installing one.
The first and most important factor that you need to consider is the climate in your area. Those with too high or too low temperatures may not find natural ventilation as a viable option, regardless of the benefits you can get from it.
The second most important factor is whether you are doing it for a new building or an existing one. In new buildings, natural ventilation can (and should) be thought during the design, which will make its price neglectable. For existing buildings, it can be an expensive undertaking and might not offer many benefits depending on the characteristics of your home.
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