DIY ventilation in the apartment: an overview of the nuances of arranging the ventilation system

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Mikhail Yashin
Last update: October 2019

Regardless of whether ventilation is done in the apartment with your own hands or with the help of specialists, it should contribute to the creation of a healthy indoor microclimate.

You can independently calculate the necessary volumes of air exchange and perform most of the work, which will lead to significant cost savings. And how to do this - we will consider in detail in this article.

And also we will analyze the nuances of arranging the hood and organizing the flow of fresh air.

Regulatory requirements for ventilation of apartments

Since air exchange directly affects the quality of life, scientific research was carried out to determine its optimal parameters, the results of which are reflected in normative acts.

The main document governing the organization of ventilation of residential premises is SP 54.13330.2016 “Residential multi-apartment buildings”, updated edition SNiP 31-01-2003.

Rules for calculating the minimum air exchange

The minimum air volume for different types of rooms can be calculated using the data in table 9.1. SP 54.13330.2016.

In the calculation, you can’t just summarize the numbers. For living rooms, air exchange is understood as the intake of air from the outside and its outflow into the kitchen, bathroom, etc., and for technical rooms - the influx from the living rooms and the release outside the apartment.

Therefore, it is necessary to separately calculate the necessary volumes of inflow and exhaust in order to take as a result the maximum value of these two quantities.

There is one caveat. The designer of an apartment building is required to calculate the inflow value for calculating the heat balance, and the exhaust value for calculating the parameters of the ventilation units.

Residents of apartments have the right, at their discretion, to realize ventilation of lesser capacity, which in the vast majority of cases happens.

Minimum Volume Calculation Example
An example of calculating the minimum volume of air exchange for typical apartments according to the requirements of SP 54.13330.2016. It must be carried out to understand the necessary power of ventilation devices

It is possible to independently determine the volume of air exchange with good accuracy only when using forced ventilation.

A detailed calculation of ventilation with formulas and real examples of calculation for specific rooms we examined in another article.

With natural air circulation, it is necessary to pay attention to the following indicators:

  • excess moisture in the air (can be measured using a hygrometer) - is expressed in the appearance of fungus on the walls and ceiling, as well as fogging of window panes in the winter;
  • lack of oxygen or excess carbon dioxide (can be measured using a gas analyzer) - expressed in difficulty breathing all the people who are in the apartment.

If such effects can be observed throughout the apartment, then this means a lack of general supply or exhaust ventilation. If they occur in separate rooms, then this indicates local problems of air exchange associated with the formation of zones of air stagnation.

Digital room gas analyzer
Modern indoor gas analyzers show carbon dioxide content, temperature and relative humidity - the main indicators of the living room microclimate

How to provide air circulation?

According to clauses 9.6 and 9.7 SP 54.13330.2016 the flow of outside air must be provided in the living rooms and the kitchen, and removal from the kitchens, bathrooms and restrooms.

In this case, air from technical rooms to other parts of the apartment is unacceptable. It must be led directly to the ventilation shaft.

Thus, it is quite easy to draw up a diagram of the movement of air depending on the layout of the apartment, when it will be supplied from the outside in rooms with windows, and outflow will occur at the places where the ventilation shafts exit.

The scheme of air movement in the apartment
An example of a pattern of air movement in a standard-type apartment with two exits to the ventilation shafts located in the kitchen and bathroom

The movement of air between the rooms of the apartment should occur with tightly closed doors.

To do this, you can do the following:

  • installation of special ventilation holes, which are ordinary holes in the doors, closed with special decorative elements;
  • the use of the door frame without a threshold, which allows you to leave a gap with a height of 5-10 mm between the floor and the closed door;
  • owners of domestic cats are often forced to install manholes in the interior doors, which also serve as a ventilation hole.

The procedure for organizing ventilation in the doors of solid wood, chipboard or MDF is quite simple. To do this, use a drill or a jigsaw to cut holes in which special rings will be planted on the glue.

Or you can make one window and close it with a decorative grille, which must be attached to the door with self-tapping screws.

Door Ventilation Process
In order to cut the ventilation hole in the interior door and close it with a decorative grill, you only need an electric jigsaw and an adhesive gun

It is quite difficult to cut through the ventilation holes in a plastic or glass door. To do this, you need a skill and a special tool, otherwise there is a high risk of damage to the door, and it is also possible to get serious injury.

Creating conditions for hood operation

With poor air exchange, it is impossible to create a positive microclimate in the room. Therefore, in any house there are special ventilation shafts for the outflow of air from the apartments to the outside.

Most of the work associated with ensuring the proper functioning of exhaust ventilation can be performed independently without the involvement of specialists.

Checking the operation of the ventilation shaft

The flow of fresh air into the apartment can occur in different places, and the removal - using one or two holes leading to the ventilation shafts. Therefore, the strength of the flow through them is the easiest way to judge the intensity of air exchange.

To do this, attach a sheet of ordinary paper to the ventilation grill, completely covering it.

With normal airflow, the paper sticks to the exhaust outlet. Otherwise, we can state the fact of the absence of normal air exchange in the apartment.

Dangerous mine traction test method
It is not safe to check the draft in the ventilation shaft with an open flame. Accumulated dust or gas leakage may cause a fire.

To find out the root cause of poor traction, open the window or front door closest to the hole and reattach the sheet to the grill.

In this case, there are two options:

  • if the paper is “stuck” to the grate, this means insufficient air flow with the windows closed;
  • if the flow remains so weak that it cannot hold the paper, then the problem is in the ventilation shaft or in the branch that leads to it.

If a lack of air exchange has arisen due to problems with the ventilation shaft, you must contact the management organization responsible for the apartment building.

Despite the fact that there are many tips on the Internet for cleaning the mine on its own, this is not necessary for the following reasons:

  • in a contaminated mine there is a lot of dust, mold and harmful microorganisms, therefore, work on its cleaning is carried out in special equipment;
  • even if it is possible to detect a blockage, it will not be possible to blow it off with a household hair dryer or vacuum cleaner, and when you try to break through an obstacle, you can damage the shaft box;
  • rats, spiders, wasps and other living organisms can live in the mine, a conflict with which for a person can bring him trouble;
  • unauthorized alteration of the shaft configuration (for example, expansion or removal of the exit) is an administrative offense.

The management organization is obliged to monitor the state of ventilation and immediately eliminate the problems that have arisen. The mine is a common house property, so all work must be carried out at the expense of common funds.

Cleaning the ventilation shaft of an apartment building
Cleaning the ducts of the ventilation shaft requires special training, equipment and equipment. On the part of the apartment, this procedure cannot be qualitatively implemented

Our site has other articles with detailed instructions for checking ventilation in the apartment and reviews of how to fix the problem:

Installation of exhaust openings

The holes leading to the ventilation shaft are covered with special plastic grilles, which have a decorative and functional purpose. Usually, plugs are inserted at the installation site and then the structure is mounted on self-tapping screws.

When tiling a wall, you can glue a light grid with silicone sealant, minimizing the risk of damage to the tiles.

In case of insufficient outflow speed during natural circulation, a grill is purchased and installed with a built-in fan of the blade (axial) type. Mounting such a device on the wall must be done only with self-tapping screws.

When buying a fan, you should pay attention to power, noise level and compliance with the cross section of the exhaust duct.

If the ventilation hole will be tiled, it is better to throw the power cable in advance, even if there are no plans for installing the fan. Otherwise, then you will have to implement the external laying of the power cable, which will negatively affect the design of the room.

Since there is no need for continuous operation of the fan, a separate switch is installed for it. A scheme for connecting a fan to the network when it turns on with the lamp is a popular option for bathrooms.

There are more complex options when switching on occurs according to a timer or according to the readings of humidity sensors.

We recommend that you read the step-by-step instructions. connecting the fan to the switch.

Fan connection diagram
The circuit for turning on the fan simultaneously with the lighting devices is elementary. If you have the skills of an electrician, its embodiment will not be difficult

Any hole leading into the ventilation shaft must be installed check valve. It protects the room from changing the direction of the air flow and air from the mine, which often does not meet sanitary standards.

Reverse flow can occur for the following reasons:

  • gradual reduction of the living section of the mine channel as a result of clogging;
  • a sharp decrease in the live section of the mine channel as a result of a foreign object;
  • increased airflow from neighboring apartments.

The non-return valve can be installed separately, but it is easier to purchase it complete with a fan and grill.

Fresh air management

The latest house-building technologies, as well as the active use of plastic windows, reliably protect modern housing from freezing and drafts. Along with this, the problem of a lack of fresh air arises, the intake of which is necessary to create a favorable microclimate.

Supply ventilation to the apartment can be done either independently or to order a ready-made solution from specialists.

Decrease in tightness of window blocks

In old houses, air flows into the rooms mainly through gaps in the window frames.Therefore, the organization of air passage through the elements of plastic windows and balcony doors is recognized as one of the common ways to create sufficient supply ventilation.

For windows, the best solution is to install supply ventilation valve at installation of the window block.

Supply valve for window unit
The supply valve is installed in the upper part of the window frame. Incoming cold air rushes down and mixes with warmer room air

Installation of the supply valve is discussed at the order stage. If the window is already installed, then you can implement the air pass device yourself, however, this procedure is quite time-consuming and specific, which is why it is better to entrust it to its professionals.

There are also several methods to reduce window tightness based on partial removal of the seal:

  • Make the seal part removable so that it can be put back in case of strong wind.
  • In the lower part outside the window and in the upper inside, remove small fragments of the seal (5-7 cm long). This will allow air to penetrate between the frame and the window frame, heat up and exit into the room.

However, these are extreme measures: they can not be often used in the winter period due to the formation of condensate, its freezing with the formation of ice and the failure of the window position fixing mechanism.

Installation of wall ventilation

From the standpoint of ventilation efficiency and ease of self-installation, the best solution is to install a wall air inlet valve. This device allows you to adjust the speed of street air into the room.

Scheme of the device of the simplest ventilation valve
The simplest ventilation wall valve allows you to adjust the power of the air flow and protects the house from dust and noise

The wall valve installation procedure is as follows:

  1. A hole with a slight outward slope must be drilled into the wall. For brick walls, an ordinary drill is suitable, but for panel houses, you will have to use the diamond drilling procedure. In this case, it is advisable to use a vacuum cleaner with a catchment ring.
  2. Insert the air duct and properly insulate it, otherwise the valve may freeze. As a material, mineral wool and polyurethane foam can be used.
  3. Attach the valve body, mark the attachment points, drill holes and insert the dowels. Having put on the case, screw it to the wall.

Finally, install the outer grille. Safety precautions must be observed here.

We also recommend that you read our other article, which contains a step-by-step process. mounting the ventilation valve into the wall.

When choosing a valve installation location, the following points must be considered:

  • ease and safety of installing an external grill for apartments not located on the ground floor;
  • proper placement of the inner head of the valve from the perspective of the design of the room;
  • the possibility of heating the incoming air from stationary heating appliances.

Therefore, the most popular place to install the valve is the space between the window and the heating battery.

For more intensive air supply use valves with built-in fans. However, they require a supply of electricity and make some noise, especially heard at night.

Two wall inlet valves
Installing two or three devices that provide natural airflow is simpler and cheaper than installing a wall air inlet valve with ventilation

In addition to a supply valve equipped with a fan, a humidifier can be connected and heater to maintain favorable microclimate in the living room.

However, they must be correctly entered into the design of the room, since the entire structure will occupy much more space than the head of an ordinary device.

Installation of channel air exchange systems

When installing duct ventilation systems or cooker hoods, special ducts or flexible corrugated pipes are used.

They are also needed to move air from technical rooms to the remote entrance to the ventilation shaft. You can carry out installation work on such an air duct on your own.

Basic duct design rules

For apartments, there is no need to use metal ventilation ducts designed to allow air flow at high speeds and to work at sub-zero temperatures. Plastic boxes are easy to install and easy to fit into the design of any room.

You can find many offers. plastic ducts for ventilationdiffering in color, cross-sectional area, shape, method of connecting the sections and the method of attachment to the walls and ceiling.

The presence of a large number of shaped elements allows you to create a ventilation duct of any geometry. The choice between a round and a rectangular cross-sectional shape from a technical point of view is not fundamental.

The cross-sectional area should be selected so that the flow velocity does not exceed 2 m / s. Otherwise, noise will occur in the channel, and an increase in resistance will lead to rapid wear of the equipment.

Bandwidth of channels of different sections
The size of the plastic ventilation duct for the apartment must be chosen so that the air flow at maximum load is from 1 to 2 m / s

When designing the geometry of the duct, it is desirable to minimize the number of turns, contractions and transitions that increase the aerodynamic resistance to the movement of the flow, generate noise and accumulate deposits of grease and dust.

Features of the installation of plastic boxes

Plastic parts of the ventilation duct are lightweight, therefore, they do not require any special actions during fastening.

Depending on their location, installation is as follows:

  1. Inside the cabinets, the elements are attached with clamps to the walls of the cabinet. In places of passage through walls and partitions, foam or foam inserts are introduced to prevent rattling during operation of the system.
  2. Above the cabinets, the elements are fixed using any holders and screws.
  3. The structure is fixed to the wall and ceiling using special clamps, which can be purchased for any channel size. The distance between the fasteners should be no more than 1 meter.

Immediately after installing the ventilation duct, which will subsequently be hidden behind a suspended or suspended ceiling, it is necessary to check its operation at the maximum possible air flow. The detected problems are easier to fix immediately, until access to the system is difficult.

Attaching a plastic duct with a clamp
It is quite simple to securely fix the elements of the plastic ventilation duct with the help of special clamps. They are not expensive, so it’s better not to use stand-alone solutions

Having missed the joints of elements with silicone sealant, you can get an additional guarantee of the density of structural joints.

For these purposes, it is not necessary to use glue or compositions such as “liquid nails”, since in the future it will be almost impossible to disassemble the system for maintenance or changing its configuration.

If depressurization has nevertheless occurred, and there is no way to dismantle the duct to eliminate it, then in this case it is necessary to wrap the problem joint with a self-adhesive tape to match the color of the shaped elements.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

All stages of installing the simplest wall air supply valve:

The procedure for ensuring ventilation through interior doors:

Combination of natural and forced ventilation with a tee and check valve:

Checking the quality of air exchange in the apartment and most of the work associated with ensuring normal air circulation can be done on their own. However, to install sophisticated equipment or perform work associated with risk, it is better to invite specialists.

Engaged in arranging ventilation systems and are well versed in the topic? Maybe you noticed an inaccuracy or an error in the reviewed material? Please write to us about this in the comments.

Or do you have difficulties in arranging a vensystem and want to clarify certain points? Ask our engineer for advice - we will try to help you.

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Visitors Comments
  1. The reason for the very poor ventilation in the apartments is, oddly enough, the presence of good windows and doors. Modern windows and doors are airtight, which is why they do not allow air from the street. As a result, dampness appears, followed by mold. Such a phenomenon did not occur in old houses with loose fit of the sash to the frames, which was enough for ventilation.

    You can use window valves, but they must be mounted above the windows under which the radiators are located, or above the radiators themselves, so that the warm air mixes with the cold, and there is no frost and draft. The only caveat is that the supply valve cannot be installed where the hood itself is located, otherwise the air from the street will go directly to the ventilation, without ensuring air circulation in the apartment or house.

  2. Dmitry

    I checked the hood with a piece of paper. Alas, the disappointing picture turned out: with the windows closed, the sheet almost does not wave, that is, there is no air flow, everything closes too tightly. I think to put grilles with fans on the ventilation outputs. It is inexpensive and can be done with your own hands. In the meantime, I arrange ventilation in the apartment every two hours.

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Dmitry, in your case, as you write, there is no air flow with the windows closed.If the sheet sticks to the ventilation outlet when the window is open, then vent fans are needed. there are no outputs (i.e. ventilation ducts are working). It is necessary to organize the inflow with the help of supply valves or more functional devices - breathers.

  3. Eugene

    Good afternoon. My problem is that one of the rooms in my apartment is deaf. But it has a plastic window. And the climate in this room is bad. Air stagnation. What should I do?

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Good afternoon, Eugene. It is not entirely clear what exactly, in your understanding, means a “dead room” if a window is installed in it. There are several solutions:

      1. Install the supply valve to the window. Details of valves are described in this article. I can assume that saying “blank” implied the absence of a sash in a metal-plastic window. In this case, contact the window company of your city with a request to install the sash in a dull window. Installation of the sash does not require dismantling the entire structure. Apartment renovation will not suffer in any way.
      2. Supply air vent to the wall. The features of the arrangement can be found in this article.
      3. Purchase air conditioning. Here here recently just updated the rating of the best models for every taste and budget. I recommend that you familiarize yourself.

      I am sure one of the proposed options will solve your problem.

      • Sergei

        Good evening, what to do in this situation - the hood in the toilet and bathroom do not work at all even with the windows open. Contacted the housing office - came, cleaned repeatedly ... and in the end it still does not work. Please tell me how to be?

        • Expert
          Alexey Dedyulin

          Hello. If the specialists of the Housing Office did not identify the problem, then it was poorly identified. In your place, you should have complained to the management. Independently invade a common ventilation system, we highly recommend you. The cause of a poorly functioning hood can be neighbors or an illiterate designed system initially.

  4. The building of the former hostel was converted into an apartment, but ventilation issues were missed. From your article I understood everything about the infusion. And about the hood? Is it possible to extend the air duct from the bathroom (which is located near the inner wall) in the ceiling structure to the outer wall - it turns out through the nursery - and so what? Fan? And if it is not turned on, will cold air enter the nursery? And should the duct be strictly horizontally laid or with a slope?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Inna, hello. What does “missed ventilation issues” mean? In general, to deal with such issues in an apartment on your own is inappropriate. You should contact the Criminal Code, this is completely in their department.

      • We bought an apartment, which turned out as a result of the reconstruction of the building of the former hostel. Who was engaged in the reconstruction and on which project, I do not know. But the fact that there is not a single ventilation channel in the apartment. The building is brick. The bearing walls are longitudinal. Across the partition 120 mm thick (brick). You understand, there’s nothing to breathe in such an apartment. What do you advise?

        • Expert
          Alexey Dedyulin

          First of all, in order not to spend money, you need to apply to the Criminal Code, on the balance of which there is a hostel (or is it now a residential building?). Submit an application or claim for lack of ventilation ducts in the apartment. In general, this is a violation, and contacting the appropriate authorities can also speed up the process.

          If you do everything yourself, then there are several options and both are costly, plus a lot of bureaucracy:

          1. Do individual ventilation with separate outputs, again you need to coordinate everything.
          2. Connect to existing channels using plastic or metal boxes.

          As a temporary solution, I can recommend installing supply air valves on the windows in the apartment.

          Attached photos:
  5. Yulia

    I beg, help, 54 sq.m in the apartment of 5 children and 2 adults - there is nothing to breathe !!! We all go wet. Fungus in the bathroom, kitchen, room 17 sq.m. Children suffer from otitis media, sinusitis, no strength already. Advise a smart, kind person who arrives, we will do everything so that my children do not suffer !!! And of course, payment is not sky-high sums. 916 9874767 Julia beg and wait.