Improving Air Quality with Home Ventilation Systems


Air quality in the home isn’t something that people often think a lot about — most homeowners assume that their HVAC units automatically clean their air. However, an HVAC unit alone might not prove sufficient to keep your air clean, so you might want to consider purchasing a home ventilation system. It can drastically improve your home air quality. We’ve found the top three types of home ventilation systems that can keep the air in your home in tip-top shape.

Exhaust Only

Typically only used in parts of the home where humidity accumulates, such as mud rooms and laundry rooms, exhaust only systems are relatively inexpensive to install. They remove the humid or polluted air from inside the home and push it outside, hence the name exhaust only: they only remove air.

These systems rely partly on air leaks and the like to provide the home with air, and aren’t appropriate for humid climates, since they rely on removing humid air and replacing it with less humid outside air. If the air outside is just as humid as the air inside, it defeats the purpose. Because they remove humid air, they’re especially helpful in colder climates, where the difference between the outside and inside air can creation condensation.

Supply Only

Instead of removing air from inside, supply only systems pressurize the home and remove pollutants by bringing in outside air and forcing out polluted, humid air. Having a pressurized ventilation system helps to improve the quality of the air, removing pollens and other allergens.

These systems do not work well in cold climates because they don’t remove moisture from the air, but work very well in both humid and more balanced climates. In addition to not removing moisture, due to air leaks, these ventilation systems can end up letting in cold drafts, so if you live somewhere where the temperature gets very cold, they may not work as well.


As the most expensive of the three options, balanced systems are intended to work in both cold and warm climates. Instead of pressurize or depressurizing a home, balanced systems bring in fresh air while expelling polluted inside air. When properly connected and calibrated, these systems can be incredibly effective at providing home ventilation.

These systems work in both warm and cold climates, expelling humid air in the winter to cut the cost of heating, and cool the outside air coming in during the summer. By equalizing pressure leaks inside the home, these systems can help save money year round if installed correctly but are, as previously mentioned, the most expensive systems, since they require two different fan and duct systems. If they aren’t installed right, they can increase your heating and cooling bills.

Having a well-ventilated home can help improve air quality and keep you from dealing with seasonal allergens and other health issues during the year. However, each system has its pros and cons, including changing your heating and cooling costs, so it’s important to consider your home’s needs before you buy a system.

Image via Flickr by Olivier Bacquet