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How to get a home ventilation system that doesn’t suck

Home ventilation systems have become big news within the last few years. Heavily advertised on TV, they have increased awareness among New Zealanders of the benefits of indoor air quality.

This is no bad thing. It’s about time we took action to improve the often dismal state of our damp and unhealthy old housing stock. However, not all home ventilation systems deliver the same level of performance. Some are distinctly sub-par.

Here are four questions to ask when you’re looking at buying a home ventilation system.
The bigger the filter, the more air can be forced through it. If you’re going to the expense of installing an expensive new ventilation system, you want one with some oomph.

How big is the filter?

One of the most common makes of home ventilation systems has a filter that’s a mere ½ a square metre in size. Contrast that with the most common brand, which includes a pleated filter that provides 12 square metres of filter surface.

But if you really want to maximise your filtration power, step up to the i-vent model installed by Harrisons Home Energy Solutions. It offers a mighty 28 square metres of filtration from its concertina-style pleated filter.

This enables the system to push through enough air to replace the atmosphere inside a house two to four times an hour. When it comes to filtering out the nasties, size matters.
Some common home ventilation products have the fan mounted in front of the filter, to draw the air in.

Where is the fan located?

By contrast, the i-vent design features a fan mounted behind the filter to force air through.

Why does this matter? Think of the way an air filter works in a car engine. Car designs place a fan before the filter for maximum power and efficiency. If it’s good enough for a Mercedes, it’s good enough for the air you breathe at home.
It’s always useful to know how strongly the installers will stand beside the product they sell you. The more confident they are, the longer the warranty they’ll offer.

What about warranties?

i-vent systems come with warranties that are significantly longer than the market standard. Harrisons Home Energy includes a five-year product warranty and 10-year installation guarantee as standard. Some commonsense conditions apply but the result should be more peace of mind.
The main point of home ventilation is to create a healthier, drier atmosphere where families thrive and bugs don’t. In addition, you may get some benefit from warmer air pushed down from the ceiling space. This will warm your house but the heating effect is marginal.

Can you add extra heat with a heat transfer system?

However, it’s possible for a ventilation system to do much more. For instance, the i-vent system can include an optional heat-transfer system that sends ducted hot air from your solid fuel fire to other areas of your home. This could be a cost-effective way to get even more value from your new ventilation system.