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Make way for ventilation

Friday, March 17, 2017

With more number of buildings being constructed close to each other, chances of good ventilation are becoming scarce. Sangram Bhoite opens up some useful measures

Good ventilation ensures that the air you breathe contains lots of vital oxygen, and removes indoor air pollutants like cooking odours, smoke, and carbon dioxide. This is particularly important if members of your family suffer from breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma, or have certain allergies. A well-ventilated home can also have a positive effect on your mentality, with poor air quality having previously been shown to impair concentration levels. A poorly ventilated house creates a damp and suffocating atmosphere. Ventilation is necessary mainly to dilute the inside air to prevent vitiation of body heat and odours. At the same time, it is necessary to reduce the products of combustion and remove any contaminants in air.  

Types of ventilation
Proper ventilation brings freshness and liveliness in the house. It can be obtained by either natural or artificial ways. Natural ventilation is one in which ventilation is effected by the elaborate use of doors, windows, ventilators and skylights, etc. It is suitable for residential buildings and small houses. Artificial ventilation is one in which some mechanical arrangements are made to increase the rate of airflow. This system is more useful for large buildings. It involves some mechanical equipment offering effective air circulation.

Many residents may think of opening windows as part of their ventilation strategy, but most people only open windows in the summer—if at all. Open windows don't guarantee good air exchange.For natural ventilation the inlet opening in the building should be equipped for effective air circulation. It is applied where natural ventilation is unsatisfactory in respect of quality, quantity and controllability. The system is costly but improves conditions of working. Exhaust machines are amongst the most commonly used air ventilation mechanism. It is more useful in removing smoke, dust, odours, etc from kitchen and toilets.

Importance of exhaust
Architect Amey Benare says, “Usually in the home, ventilation is poor in toilets and washrooms, thus buildings should have a mechanicalexhaust on the terrace. Along with that, special ducts made with mechanical exhausts can also be used. Small exhaust fans can as well be put in individual toilets. Another way in which there can be air circulation in toilets is making small doors. Doors should always be at least an inch above the ground so that air circulation can happen.”

Another system used these days is Plenum system in which fresh air is forced into the room and the ventilated air is allowed to leave through ventilators. Air is passed through a fine gauge screen by means of a blower fan. Thus, all the impurities are removed from the air.   

Better to be natural
Natural ventilation occurs by stack effect when air inside a building is at a different temperature than air outside. Thus, in buildings where hot processes are carried on, the outside air will tend to enter through openings at lower level and warm air will tend to leave through openings at higher level. The amount of outside air entering by natural infiltration through doors or windows and other openings depends on direction and velocity of wind outside.

As per experts, artificial ventilation is an alternative but natural ventilation is always preferred. The grill sizes should not be so big that it restricts air circulation. Nowadays, most of the houses have only one-side windows, which is anti-air circulation. So, when the door is closed, cross ventilation is barred thus most people use safety doors with windows.

Considering the rate of growth and closeness of buildings, Mumbai and nearby areas will start suffocating if proper ventilation is not provided soon. Taking the abovementioned small measures on an individual basis will certainly lead us to a better healthy tomorrow.

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