ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent Why home ventilation is just as important as insulation

Home ventilation is just as important as insulation – a deep dive into the why & how.

You are probably aware of insulation's importance for your home. But did you know home ventilation is just as important and shouldn't be neglected?

5 min read

© Matt Gamble

Insulation is rarely absent from conversations about home improvement. But home ventilation is all too often overlooked and its importance misunderstood. When it comes to enhancing the efficiency and cost effectiveness of your home, as well as the health of its inhabitants, ventilation is just as important as insulation. Demystify home ventilation and find out how it could benefit you with this deep dive into the topic.

What is home ventilation?

Home ventilation is when an indoor area allows in fresh, outdoor air to create circulation and rid the space of contaminated air. It’s there to keep indoor spaces healthy, safe and efficient.
Contaminated indoor air can be created through cooking with certain chemicals, using certain harsh products for cleaning, smoking indoors or low-oxygen levels from lack of ventilation.

What is home insulation?

Home insulation is the barrier between inside and outside that prevents air flow between the two. In summer, this should provide ease of cooling and, in winter, it should help retain heat inside.

How do home insulation and ventilation relate to one another?

Having an excellently insulated home can be highly beneficial but without adequate ventilation, the air quality inside the home can suffer, as can the infrastructure. The two most common concerns when it comes to lack of ventilation are humidity and unhealthy air. The air exchange between ventilated air and energy escaping a space is the balance between fresh, outdoor air and indoor contaminated air. Failing to strike the balance can lead to unsafe conditions with contaminated air, mould, damp and even structural issues. It could also have a devastating impact on the respiratory health of the people who live there.

Open windows to air out the room for manual home ventilation

What does good ventilation look like?

Good ventilation will provide enough air flow inside your property to clarify the air you breathe in from pollutants (such as those from cooking or cleaning products) and excess humidity. When ventilation is functioning effectively alongside insulation, you shouldn’t notice overly steamy bathrooms, mould around windows or worsening respiratory health (assuming you have no underlying health problems).

What does bad home ventilation look like?

At its very worst, inadequate ventilation can lead to:

  • Condensation

    Condensation alone might not seem like a scary problem but, left alone, it’s a looming issue that can lead to damp patches forming on your wall which can then evolve into mould. This leads us on to…

  • Mould

    If humidity and lack of ventilation are maintained over a certain amount of time, you may begin to see the tell-tale green and black dots of mould creeping onto your walls, your furniture, even your clothes! Failing to address this issue can lead to falling ill with colds, increased sensitivity to allergies and respiratory problems.

  • Wall damage

    Without proper ventilation, the moisture levels could be severe enough to threaten the integrity of your walls. This could cause aesthetic damage but, far more importantly, structural damage if it goes untreated.

  • Low oxygen levels

    Inadequate ventilation and oxygen could lead to poor health. Specific signals that the oxygen levels in your property aren’t substantial include dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing.

  • Unpleasant smells

    While this is probably the least serious impact of minimal ventilation, it is one that could have a profound effect on how you experience your home life.

If any of these conditions sound familiar, it’s time to identify the most affected parts of your home and come up with an action plan.

Why home ventilation/home insulation is important:

According to recent findings from a survey we carried out, one of the most pressing concerns for people when it comes to their homes today is the cost to run them. It’s hardly surprising in the midst of a cost of living crisis but it does bear repeating because it’ll only become a more significant consideration when it comes to the long-term value of a home. Without adequate ventilation and insulation, it’s likely that you’ll end up spending more on energy bills in the long run just to stay comfortable. This is largely because air that’s become moist takes longer to heat up.

As well as this, Denmark’s world-famous Happiness Research Institute found that our overall happiness is largely linked to our personal sense of pride, and this was tied more specifically to how proud we feel of our homes. While certain consequences of inadequate ventilation like unpleasant smells, peeling wallpaper from excess moisture and visible mould spots might seem shallow to focus on, the pride you feel in your home is sure to be thwarted and could have socially-isolating consequences. After all, if you’re ashamed of your home, how likely are you to invite someone into it?

How to improve your home ventilation:

  • Consider investing in installing ventilation slots to regulate the movement of air between indoors and outdoors. These are largely what they sound like on the tin: a slot in any given room that ventilates the air and manages the humidity and pollutant levels in the room.
  • Action for Clean Air is an organisation campaigning for better protections for the public from polluted air. A key part of their guidance is to open up windows and use extractor fans when cooking or cleaning. This is because some of the chemicals released into the air can damage your respiratory system and lead to long-term health problems.

    To ensure you can follow this advice, make sure you have smooth-functioning windows and extractor fans. If you’re looking to incorporate an extractor fan in a future bathroom or kitchen renovation project, book a free advice call with one of our experts to get some inspiration and see what options you have.

  • Some structural adjustments to your property should be considered if you’re concerned about the ventilation in your home or would like to prevent any mould worsening into long-term damage. Installing vents from the rest of your house to your loft or roof can help improve air flow and the health of your home in general.

Home ventilation in style at a completed Resi renovation project in Wandsworth

If you’re considering a renovation or extension, book a free advice call and see how you could integrate improved home ventilation into your plans.

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