How to check ventilation in an apartment: rules for checking ventilation ducts
In urban environments, people spend most of their time indoors. Lack of fresh air threatens to reduce performance, worsening well-being.
And if you add to this the constant presence of extraneous odors, mustiness, dampness, mold in the corners? Knowing how to check the ventilation in the apartment, you will not take the situation to extremes.
We have described in detail all proven practical methods for checking the effectiveness of ventilation systems. Here you will find useful information about the device and options for improving ventilation. The information is supplemented by visual illustrations and video guides.
The content of the article:
- Check draft in ventilation outlets
- The reasons for the lack of air flow
- Troubleshooting ventilation ducts
- Planned revision of ventilation of apartment buildings
- Problems in a working system
- Vagaries of ventilation on the top floors
- Cleaning the ventilation ducts
- Methods for optimizing ventilation in the apartment
- Conclusions and useful video on the topic
Check draft in ventilation outlets
Let's cut several strips of thin paper 20 cm long, 2-3 cm wide and hold them alternately to the ventilation vents in the apartment 5-7 cm apart.With normal ventilation, the ends of the strips should touch the edge of the vent, but not be drawn into it.
Suppose a paper strip is drawn to the outlet just barely, does not deviate at all or deviates in the opposite direction. Ventilation is definitely bad, but you need to find out what the matter is - whether clogged ventilation ductswhether there is no air flow.
Open the door and window, repeat the experiment with a piece of paper. If this time the strip was pulled into the outlet - the ventilation shaft is in order, otherwise you must look for the cause of its malfunction.
The same can be checked with a flame of a match, a lighter or a candle, cigarette smoke, but this is highly discouraged. The probability of gas leakage and its accumulation in the ventilation shaft is small, but a piece of wall broken through to the neighbors is the minimum of those serious consequences that can occur in this case.
Ventilation is not only checked by the “yes / no” criterion, but also the air velocity in the ventilation duct is measured with an anemometer.
The sequence of actions is as follows:
- we fix the readings of the device;
- the measurement result and the size of the ventilation grill in diameter are entered in the formula below;
- we get how much air the ventilation system lets through (cubic meters / hour).
The formula for calculating:
Q = V * S * 3600
- Q is the volume of air per cubic meter. m / hour;
- V - air flow rate in m / s (measured by anemometer);
- S - cross-sectional area of the ventilation hole in m2 (we measure with a tape measure).
The standard for a kitchen with an electric stove is 60 cubic meters. m / h, for the bathroom - 25 cubic meters. m / hour. Measurements should be made with a temperature spread of at least 13-15ºС (for example, outside + 7ºС, and in an apartment + 21ºС). Outdoor temperature should not exceed + 5-7ºС.
When warming, ventilation becomes worse, the check will be unreliable. The stronger the outside air warms up, the greater the measurement error.
If the thermometer in the apartment shows a plus, and on the street at this moment it is minus, the internal air rushes from the room up through the ventilation duct, because it is lighter and warmer. But with temperature equalization, the draft in the channel weakens. When in an apartment, for example, + 22ºС, and outside the windows - + 32ºС, less heated internal air remains below and does not go into the ventilation duct.
On hot summer days, even completely prosperous natural ventilation stops coping or switches to work in the opposite direction. But this is not a reason to consider it faulty.
In our apartment buildings, the supply and exhaust ventilation of the gravitational principle of operation is arranged.It works according to the laws of physics, air masses spontaneously enter the premises and are pulled out through the exhaust duct.
Ways and features ventilation devices meticulously disassembled in one of the popular articles on our site.
The reasons for the lack of air flow
So, checking the draft showed that the ventilation ducts are free, and the air in the apartment stagnates, the kitchen stench and, even worse, the toilet scent do not disappear.
The thing is that the ventilation of most of our apartments was originally designed to receive fresh air naturally through old wooden window and door structures due to the loose fit of the shutters, the presence of cracks.
And now completely different building materials with high density, various heaters, sealants, and also plastic windows are used. We strive to make our homes warm with protection from noise and cold penetration from outside, and as a result, we block the flow of air.
Plastic windows and metal entrance doors clog the room so that it turns into a sealed one.
Air does not pass, draft in ventilating vents is absent. It is especially bad in winter, when the windows do not open even for ventilation, so as not to chill out the rooms. But the problem is easy to solve.
It is enough to slightly open the window, and air will begin to flow into the formed gap. He will go around the apartment and reach the ventilation openings, which are usually located in the kitchen and bathroom.
Unfortunately, in winter, if we air our housing, it’s different. We open wide all the windows at once, but for a short time. At the same time, the air is completely renewed, the apartment does not have time to cool down, but the ventilation still does not work and will not work.
And what about in the summer? In the summer months, it won’t get better, since in winter the temperature difference (internal and external) makes natural ventilation work, and when these temperatures equalize by the summer, the air flow stops.
Troubleshooting ventilation ducts
The first thing that comes to mind is the clogging of the ventilation ducts. Remove the grill with ventilation window and look into it. Debris found within reach can be manually removed or vacuum cleaned.
Removing garbage directly from the ventilation shaft is technically difficult, and this kind of independent action is prohibited to private individuals.
If you suspect obstruction of the ventilation ducts, you should call specialists through the management company, in the arsenal of which there are the necessary diagnostic devices and tools.
There is a lot of construction waste in the found garbage. Unscrupulous builders, engaged in repairs and redevelopment, often intentionally dump litter into the ventilation shaft, without bothering to take it out into the yard.
The result is a blocked ventilation duct. The management company should also deal with such violations. But even without this, with each next year of operation, the dirt on the walls narrows the clearance of the ventilation duct, the draft weakens. In the ventilation system, dust settles, a web forms. From above, foliage flies into the mine, birds fall into it.
Damage caused by shrinkage of the foundation, cracking of walls and other consequences of the inevitable aging of the building contribute to this. Clogged channels do not cope with the task.
Planned revision of ventilation of apartment buildings
As ventilation ducts Since they are common for the house, their operation is provided by the managing organization, whose representatives are obliged to check the condition of ventilation, and if necessary, clean the mines and repair them on the basis of a license or conclude the necessary contracts with specialized companies.
The rules for checking ventilation provide answers to a lot of questions:
- how often ventilation ducts are checked;
- the presence of traction should be checked in apartments or it is enough to examine only the ventilation shaft;
- Is the frequency of ventilation checks in the bathrooms and the kitchen the same?
- is the managing organization responsible or is the owner responsible for checking the draft in the apartment?
In apartment buildings, inspections of ventilation ducts are carried out 1-2 times a year - it depends on whether there are gas appliances or only electricity is used. In the presence of gas, ventilation is checked twice - in summer and winter. If serious malfunctions are identified, it is forbidden to use gas appliances until they are rectified.
You can not arbitrarily remodel, repair, improve ventilation in the apartmentsince it is interconnected with the social system. All actions are coordinated with the relevant services.
Problems in a working system
It so happens that ventilation works for a long time, remaining in good condition, and then suddenly stops or starts to drive air in the opposite direction. Indeed, if we discard all the reasons described above, it turns out that the problems with ventilation do not end there.
We will analyze how the natural ventilation of an apartment building with a vertical prefabricated channel is arranged.
The main ventilation shaft leads from the first floor to the attic. All apartments are equipped with individual ventilation moves (sleeves or satellite channels).
Each of them from the ventilation outlet in a particular apartment rises up one floor and penetrates the main channel slightly below the same individual ventilation passage belonging to the apartment a floor above.
Air from the apartment through a satellite channel moves into a common shaft and there it moves further to the attic, and from there to the street. These satellite channels feed the general flow, and if air ceases to flow through them, then its volume and speed of movement along the main shaft will also decrease.
A sleeve that has ceased to function in one apartment will not disable all ventilation along the riser in a 5th, 9th or 16th floor building. But the more apartments fall out of the general ventilation system, the weaker it is. Having reached a critical limit, ventilation refuses: the airflow going to the attic level is so frail that it cannot push itself further.
Moreover, it goes down, and the channel-sleeves of the last two floors are the first to pull it back. To protect the upper floors from backdraft, individual channels are led directly to the roof. But to find out why the flow of air to the ventilation shaft is reduced, it is necessary in individual apartments.
Consider a two- or three-room dwelling, in which the kitchen and bathroom / toilet are separated at different ends, and in this connection two independent ventilation ducts are built. One serves the kitchen and the other a bathroom. This pair of channels draws stagnant air from the apartment into the ventilation system, it is replaced by fresh air.
Only the flow of air outside is considered correct. The widespread replacement of wretched but breathing wooden window frames with double-glazed windows violates the circulation process. They do not let in air, temporary opening of windows for ventilation does not help, since for the ventilation to take place, the air flow must be constant.
If the front door does not close so tightly, then air can come from the stairwell. It is not better in quality than that available in the apartment, but it supports the viability of ventilation. Although is it necessary to have such a ventilation system in which the air inside the house moves - with the smell of tobacco (they often smoke in the stairwell), etc.?
When there is no internal air flow through the front door, one of the two ventilation ducts available in the apartment (with a stronger draft) will begin to draw in air from the second channel. Those. going on tipping of draft in one ventilation duct at the expense of another. The effect is the same - someone else's exhaust air in the apartment, a lot of unwanted odors and aromas.
Vagaries of ventilation on the top floors
In addition to the vertical outlet of the ventilation shaft to the outside, there are other engineering structures of the ventilation system - with a horizontal connection box in the attic having a single exit to the roof, and with a large intermediate ventilation compartment-drive, which is the attic itself, from where air moves outward through a single common ventilation shaft .
In order for the ventilation in the apartments of the upper floors to work normally, the air must pass up the vertical shaft at least a few meters, but the attic is an obstacle to this, and the following happens:
- in the scheme with a horizontal box - the air from all floors reaches the attic level and meets the ceiling of this duct on the way. Without turning horizontally, he seeks to find other passages, and often located near the ventilation arms of the upper floors;
- in the scheme with access to the attic - in the satellite channels of the upper floors, the air flow does not accelerate enough to flow into the voluminous attic, and the air exchange in the apartments slows down.
In the first case, the ventilation is forced in the opposite direction, and all the smells from the lower apartments penetrate the residents above. Two solutions to the problem are to modernize the junction box, if technically feasible, or to separate the satellite channels of the upper floors from the box, insulate them and bring them directly to the shaft facing the roof.
In the second case, on the upper floors there is already a weak draft, and if the attic is blown, it can also reverse. Therefore, the length of satellite channels on the upper floors is increased, displayed in the attic higher and turned to a common shaft, so that the air flow from the lower floors carries with it weaker upper flows.
Cleaning the ventilation ducts
As for the main ventilation shaft, private individuals should not touch it. Contact the management company with a complaint about poor ventilation and wait for specialists. Before their arrival, neighbors must be notified so that they can protect themselves from possible black fine dust exhaust from the ventilation grilles.
Based on the results of the inspection of ventilation ducts, the commission issues an act with instructions for operation and repair.
In the process of examination, the cross section of the channels is measured, the length of the narrowed sections, paying attention to the condition:
- mine walls (cracks, etc.);
- connecting pipes;
- horizontal segments;
- air inlets, heads, hatches, etc.
To clean the strokes, industrial vacuum cleaners, mechanical devices with a variety of nozzles are used. The mine is illuminated by floodlights, its entrails are inspected using digital cameras and video cameras.
Does not require much time and cost repair of ventilation ducts. The destroyed sections of the channel are restored by installation inside the pipes of metal or ceramic, lining with fastening solutions, lining with polymers.
The ventilation passage from the apartment to the communal mine can and should be cleaned independently:
- move the furniture away, remove excess objects, push the step ladder to the wall;
- glue paper or newspaper on the wall below the ventilation hole with masking tape so as not to wash wallpaper or tiles from dirt, cover the floor;
- remove a decorative lattice;
- Put gloves on your hands and carefully scrape dirt and debris out of the ventilation duct.
Remove any residual dirt with a vacuum cleaner, replace the previously washed grate or replace it with a new one. After cleaning, check the draft again with the window ajar.
Methods for optimizing ventilation in the apartment
If the ventilation in the apartment is disturbed due to the installation of sealed double-glazed windows, then use the ventilation mode. We are familiar with summer airing - this is a fully open sash or its position at an angle due to a swing-out mechanism.
Winter is also called micro-slit, to switch to this mode, you need to turn the window handle with the shutter pressed to deploy 45º.
Another way out is to use supply ventilation valves. They are mounted in the outer wall, in the joints filled with mounting foam between the window block and the wall, in the window profile, below the window sill.
In winter, the ventilation valves draw a little cold, but in hot summers the air may not flow into them at all. Therefore, it makes sense to additionally equip the entrances to the ventilation ducts with exhaust fans.
The bathroom has to deal with high humidity. Waterproof fansbuilt into the ventilation holes turn on themselves, responding to increased humidity, and turn off when the vapor evaporates, the air becomes drier.
In the toilets, a fan with a motion sensor and a timer can be mounted in the ventilation system. The fan starts to rotate automatically when someone enters, and stops after the time set in the timer. In the kitchen, fans with an air quality sensor that capture cigarette smoke and other unwanted odors will benefit.
And finally about cooker hoods. Their power is enough to skip a significant part of the air available in the apartment during operation. If there is not enough natural air flow, the return of air from the ventilation shaft of the bathroom will inevitably begin. Limit the use of the hood and open the window when you turn it on.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
What to do if ventilation does not work:
As soon as you find any abnormalities in the ventilation system, immediately take action.If you can’t do it on your own, invite specialists.
If you have questions when familiarizing yourself with the information presented by us, there is valuable information, found flaws in the article, we invite you to comment. Please write comments in the block below.