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Get to know HVAC: Ventilation

Get to know HVAC: Ventilation

Any domestic or commercial building will rely on a Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. A building may only have one of these components or it may have all three but when the architectural and engineering aspects of the structure were being thought about, the HVAC system would have been a priority. These systems regulate interior air quality, temperature and humidity to create a comfortable and healthy environment for occupants and users. HVAC systems work based on three properties – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer – which allow the biggest of skyscrapers as well as the cosiest of homes to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

The components of HVAC systems have been experimented with and developed for centuries but HVAC came into play during the industrial revolution when factories required such systems to keep their environments bearable for workers on long shifts. Many inventions and ideas came about, some of which are still the basis of HVAC systems today.

HVAC systems have come a long way technically since the nineteenth century but they still remain vital to homes and businesses alike. Whether you are in need of a bathroom extractor fan or a state-of-the-art air conditioning system, it is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the individual components and the overall system of HVAC. Read on to find out more about ventilation:

•    Ventilation is the process of changing or replacing air in an interior space with a higher quality of air. This process can control temperature, replenish oxygen, dehumidify and remove odours or particles thus maintaining acceptable indoor air quality via air exchange and circulation

•    Ventilation made its appearance during the 18th and 19th centuries when stagnant air was believed to contribute to the spread of disease and illness. Ventilation methods were developed and introduced as a way to stop the spread of illness as well as to reduce the risk of fire and smoke exposure when open fires were still a primary heat source.

•    The House of Commons has an impressive non-mechanical ventilation system that was engineered by English engineer John Theophilus Desaguliers

•    The 19th century saw mechanical ventilation systems appear, where power was used to circulate air instead of manual labour. The advent of steam power meant specifically designed ceiling fans could be used for ventilation such as those installed by ventilation pioneer David Boswell Reid at St George’s Hospital in Liverpool

•    Mechanical or forced ventilation is usually used in kitchens and bathrooms. The mechanical exhausts are able to extract air easily to control odours and humidity. Kitchen extractor fans and ventilation systems work along the same lines but the extra challenges (grease and smoke) they pose should be taken into consideration

•    Electrical floor or ceiling fans can circulate air but they do not necessarily cool or ventilate a space

•    Natural ventilation is a cost effective and easily achievable source of ventilation. Opening the windows, leaving doors ajar or using trickle vents means you can get fresh outdoor air into and circulating around a room or house. Natural ventilation isn’t ideal when it is overly warm or humid as thermal comfort cannot always be achieved

Now you have a few interesting titbits about ventilation and the HVAC system as a whole you might feel more informed as you shop around. If you want to learn more about HVAC systems, heating or air conditioning then check out our blog for more posts!