Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ventilation

Usually when a telemarketer rings me up and asks whether I would like a home demo of some product or other, I just say no. But I've been thinking about installing a home ventilation system, heat pumps and/or underfloor insulation all winter, so yesterday I welcomed an HRV salesman into my home to give me his Irish-accented sales pitch.

I'm sure that handsome salespeople with charming accents and the good manners to ignore a 14-month-old with his shoes, are more likely to make an on-the-spot sale than the rest. But I tend not to buy anything (unless it's at a book, DVD or clothing sale) until I've mulled it over, compared it to several competitors, talked to my friends about it and tried to get a discount.

Consumer magazine might have advice on how to choose between the different ways of cleaning or heating the air in one's home, but I'm too lazy to go and look through the stacks of magazines.

I'd rather just ask you folks.

The climate here is mild, ranging from around 5 degrees Celsius in Winter to perhaps the late 20s in summer. My place is a draughty 2-3 bedroom cottage, only insulated in the ceiling. There's a little condensation on the windows in our bedroom in Winter and the hallway sometimes has a piebald look about it. Two rooms are heated by oil column heaters and the rest of the house is au naturel i.e. fridge-like in the Winter and oven-like in mid-summer. Oh, and we're considering moving house sometime.

So what do you reckon? Should we bother with heat pumps? Would a forced-air ventilation system make a noticeable difference to my asthma? Does under-floor insulation fix cold feet better than a boyfriend's warm tummy?

13 comments:

happy and blue 2 said...

I have no idea. People living in your area would know what's best.
I have a forced air gas furnace for heat in winter and air conditioning for the summer. Our temperatures go from -40 in the winter to mid to high 30's in the summer(celcius)..

The Editter said...

er... consumer online?

ChiefMommy Owl said...

I feel like an idiot. I have no idea what kind of a system I have in my own house. Go for the discount though :)

Sara

Cathi said...

We have a DVS in our 1970s small house. We moved in in an October, and installed it the following July. The house didn't have a terrible condensation problem but there was some, also the cupboards in the kitchen had that "I'm a wooden cupboard" smell.

Installing the DVS was relatively cheap, I thought, and condensation and mustiness disappeared overnight. It is amazing the difference it makes. We still use a portable gas heater in the living room as our primary heat source in winter, and we are up late at night to about 2-3am, so in winter the gas heater is going for probably 10-12 hours. The condensation has cleared by morning. Cupboards are fresh, which I did not expect at all. We do not have that chill that you get in unventilated houses, also if you go away for the weekend the house is still airy and fresh when you get back. If you insist on drying laundry indoors (as I do) the DVS will help them dry more quickly. (NB we have a condensing dryer so we don't get condensation from that source)

The DVS isn't a heat-pump/exchange system, it pushes cold air from the roofspace in at ceiling level which forces circulation around the room and pushes the hot wet air out through all the nooks and crannies around the outside of the house. It does have options for controlling the movement of air for instance in summer when the roofspace is even hotter than your house, or in winter when you want to recapture some of the lost heat, but at the end of the day it is not a heating system and is not always compatible with heat-pump type systems.

One thing though: we were pleased this house was so quiet in heavy rain compared with our previous house, but then we went and cut holes in the ceiling for the DVS outlets. Not quiet any more :(

Wouldn't be without it though.

HTH, let me know if you want more details

Kazzer said...

Hi Violet. We installed a DVS in our house in Jville and it was wonderful. My allergies were a lot better afterwards and we never got any damp at all. We had a heater installed underneath it. It didn't exactly heat the house, but kept the chill off. It was very quiet and cheap to run and low-maintenance.

Violet said...

happyandblue2: yikes - quite extreme temperatures you have there. Your home sounds nice and comfy though.

the editter: I'm not as dumb as I look y'know. I tried there, but as I'm not an online subscriber I don't have access to the crucial info.

chiefmommy owl: I guess one doesn't need to know unless one is about to install or maintain it, right?

cathi: thanks for all that. I found out on the Web that DVS claims to run for about half the cost of the HRV system, so if we do get a home ventilation system which uses roofspace air (rather than outside air) then I'd choose DVS over HRV.

Do you find that you save on heating? Cos the salesman told me we would.

kazzer: What kind of heater? Is that a DVS extra?

Cathi said...

Kazzer made a good point about allergies which I forgot about. As for heating savings - not sure. Our standards have gone up so we heat more than we used to, in our bedroom for example. I do remember noticing that winter was warmer but autumn and spring were sometimes a little bit cooler (but drier).

The air really is a lot drier, I have no doubt at all about that. That has to mean heat savings, doesn't it?

Wormbrain said...

I would check out what your neighbors have, to see what system works with your style of house.

Oh and when a telemarketer calls ME they usually say, "Can I ask you a quick question?"
I always reply, "You just did" and hang up.

Beth said...

Hi Violet - wish i could answer this, but i am completely clueless!
I can say that DH's tummy is very warm - he always thinks I'm warmer than him though - calls me his "portable hot water bottle" in the winter. Must be all those extra layers of insulation I have...

Zephra said...

I have no advice but really want to know what piebald means?

Kazzer said...

Hi Vi,
The heater was one of those flat ones that fits on the wall. It looks like a big tile and you can paint it to match your decor. Gerbera who lives a few doors up from you has put in a DVS and I think she was happy with it.

Violet said...

cathi: There has to be an optimal level of humidity though, since a too-dry atmosphere is also not a good thing. So the question for me is whether this house deviates from that level enough to make it worth the financial outlay.

wormbrain: ooh that so assertive! I'm just too polite to do that.

beth: we're the opposite; I usually rely on the hubby to warm me up in the bed, and he always complains that I'm stealing his heat.

zephra: by piebald I mean sort of patchy, as in piebald pony.

kazzer: oh I see what you mean. I'd aks gerberer myself but I've never met her!

Anonymous said...

a dvs is just an extractor for your bathroom it aint shit against an hrv i mean how the hell can a dvs (dumb ventilation system) dry your home with only 1-2 vents in a 8 bedroom house? i threw out my dvs and am more happier with my hrv no more crying windows and a dryer house ps my dvs is now an extractor in my bathroom lol