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What is a Ventilation Survey? And Why Are They Important?

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What is a ventilation survey?

A ventilation survey is a type of environmental investigation that looks at the air movement, filters, exhaust fans, doors and other components of buildings. 

An investigation aims to identify any potential sources of indoor pollution and how they may be eliminated or controlled. 

An inspection should provide answers to these questions: 

  • Is the building constructed in accordance with local codes? 
  • Are its air filtration systems properly sized and operating correctly? 
  • Are its ventilation loops providing adequate supply and return air at rated conditions? 

Ventilation surveys are usually carried out by an engineer or inspector who will check all the details such as the location and size of windows, the method used to heat and cool the building, and whether it is occupied on a permanent basis if there are any fire alarms or sprinkler systems present. They can also check for cracks in walls or ceilings where rainwater might get into a building.

What is the objective of the ventilation survey?

The ventilation survey aims to identify any potential sources of indoor pollution and how it may be eliminated or controlled. In other words, a ventilation survey is designed to find out what kind of pollutants are present in your building, when they were produced and where they might come from. 

What are the standards of ventilation?

The standards of ventilation are expressed in units of air changes per hour (ACH) and the number of litres/second/person. This refers to the number of times that air changes its location within a given time period. A typical modern building will have an ACH value between 2-3, but most experts believe that Covid has changed all of the requirements for comfort and have set 6ACH or 15 litres/second/person of fresh, clean air at what is needed to protect against pandemics.

What are the different types of Ventilation?

There are three main different types of ventilation. These include natural ventilation, forced air systems and mechanical ventilation. 

Natural ventilation is created by the movement of wind or air brought into a building by an open window, door, or natural convection such as an open fireplace. The wind direction, pressure differentials, and cross flows will dictate if this works at all, so it can be hit and miss, particularly in the Summer months.

Forced-air systems are used when the need for fresh, outside air such as in summer or winter. 

Mechanical ventilation removes carbon dioxide, fumes and other gases from buildings and exhaust fumes from process equipment like furnaces and kilns. 

How do you ensure proper ventilation?

The nature of a ventilation survey is to find potential sources of pollution in the building and recommend solutions for that. Proper ventilation is necessary for proper air quality and can be achieved by checking a building’s airflow, which can be monitored with an airflow meter. 

 A basic step to ensure proper ventilation is to ensure that the exhaust fans operate properly and that they exhaust outside rather than into a room. However, these two factors will only ensure proper ventilation if there are no other sources or leaks in the system.

How do you know if you have poor ventilation?

Poor ventilation usually means that the building is not getting enough fresh air. This can cause a number of different problems, from excess moisture and mould growth to poor air quality. In some cases, mould can also be a sign of poorer ventilation. 

If you notice any of these symptoms in your home or office, there are two ways to check if the ventilation is inadequate: the first is to have a professional perform a ventilation survey; the second is to test the actual conditions inside and see how they compare with what they should be at rated conditions. 

Why is Proper ventilation important in the workplace?

Proper ventilation is important in the workplace because it helps to protect people from respiratory diseases, such as asthma, Covid-19 and influenza. It is also important for preventing fire and smoke damage.

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