A match made in heaven

Have you ever come home on a boilingly hot day (or freezing cold one!), closed all the windows, and cranked up the aircon? Your home should get to a more comfortable temperature, but it might still seem stuffy or stagnant. This is because air conditioners are (usually) only designed to heat or cool the air. They typically aren’t bringing fresh air inside, just recirculating it. Fortunately, this problem is easily solved by using a continuous home ventilation system with your air conditioning.

Ventilation will solve your fresh air problems. Compared to air conditioning, ventilation continuously brings fresh air in however it relies on the outside conditions to influence your indoor environment, so if its hot or cold outside, you will likely feel some of this effect inside. This is why the combination of ventilation and air conditioning offers the best combination for comfort and health outcomes for your home. By integrating a SmartVent ventilation system with your air conditioner you achieve the best of both worlds, fresh air at a comfortable temperature.

Sometimes integrating the two can seem complicated, which is why our design team is here to help. Get in touch with us at enquiry@smartvent.co.nz if you have any questions!

Not sure about continuous ventilation systems? Here’s why you should care:

  1. Better air quality (1)
  2. Improved sleep
  3. Higher performance
  4. Combat sickness
  5. Remove contaminants & smells
  6. Increased energy efficiency (2)

(1) Ventilation systems introduce fresh air to your home which dilutes the concentration of CO₂, VOCs and humidity, the reduction of these provides health benefits to everyone who lives there.
(2) When compared to the energy required to heat more humid and stale air.

VSAir conditioning recycling air diagram

So, how do home ventilation and air conditioning systems work?

Air conditioning

is usually installed to improve both the health and the comfort of your home, and while warmer air certainly contributes to the health of a home, that’s not the full story. If you’re looking to dry out your home or reduce contaminants and CO₂, you need a ventilation system as well.

What most people don’t realise is that an air conditioner doesn’t typically provide fresh air, not even through the little pipes going outside. Instead, the stale air simply cycles around inside your home getting heated or cooled in the process. Even a ducted air conditioner effectively only moves air around the house, taking it through a central location but without introducing any new fresh air or removing the old stale and contaminated air. This is where a ventilation system comes in.

Ventilation systems

are specifically designed to continuously bring fresh air into your home. Because the most popular ventilation systems used in New Zealand don’t usually have a heating, cooling or tempering system built in, the air is at the same temperature as whatever your source location is.

For systems that pull air from the roof space, this may be a few degrees warmer than outside due to solar gain; but for full fresh air systems (direct from outside) this can be either very warm or very cold depending on the time of year. There are some systems that actively recover energy (hot or cold) from your home and temper the incoming air – these are called Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (or MVHR) and are generally considered the best ventilation option overall, ask us about true heat recovery today. But regardless of what system you have; outside air is typically drier than indoor air, particularly cold air. This is what provides the drying effect of a ventilation system. Take a look at our future posts on humidity and dew point to understand why.

While we all like a warm dry home there’s one other thing a ventilation system does for you; it improves the quality of your air. Living in your home with the windows and doors closed continuously increases the amount of CO₂ and other contaminants in the air. High concentrations of CO₂ affect your brain functions, sleep quality and general health. A filter system alone does not fix this, which is why we need to introduce fresh air.

Heat recovery ventilation system integrated with an ducted heat pump Air conditioning system

Pictured: A SmartVent heat recovery system integrated with a ducted heat pump.

 

Looking to tie the knot?

While a Positive Pressure system is good for a lot of homes; for direct integration with a ducted air conditioner we highly recommend going with a heat recovery unit. There are two key reasons for this.

Firstly, a heat recovery unit helps to preserve your indoor temperature. If you’re already heating or cooling the space then it saves the energy you’ve put in by transferring it to the incoming air. A system like the SmartVent Balance can recover up to 90% of the heat energy.

Secondly, a heat recovery unit can help with outdoor humidity as well. In summer outdoor humidity levels can be higher than indoors, if you’re cooling inside, the heat recovery unit helps to pull some of the humidity out of the air before it reaches your air conditioner. Because it’s harder to change the temperature of humid air, drier air is a win-win for your comfort and the performance of your air conditioner.

High wall air conditioning system with ventilation system diagram

Don’t have a ducted air conditioner?

Don’t worry! Ventilation systems don’t only work with ducted air conditioners. While a ducted air conditioner allows your fresh air to be immediately heated or cooled before it enters your house, fresh air can still be introduced to a space with a highwall style air conditioner. The movement of the air inside will allow the fresh air to mix with your heated or cooled air so you can still get the health and comfort benefits you desire.

 Air conditioners need to be appropriately sized for the ventilation you’re providing and systems should run together to prevent short-circuiting.

 

Need help choosing the right ventilation system?

SmartVent’s design service is here to help! Get in touch now!