Feeling Exhausted? Everything You Need to Know about Your HVAC Exhaust

hvac exhaustIt’s been a busy month and a half for the region, and the same goes for us here at Bell Bros. Kids are back in school, and it seems like the calendar just isn’t as open as it was back in July. But exhausted isn’t just a description for people–it can apply to your HVAC system too. A lot of us think that HVAC is just about heat and air conditioning, but a major part of any system is exhaust, whether from the dryer, stovetop vent, or bathroom fan. If you’re thinking HVAC, you need to be thinking exhaust so your job doesn’t leave you (or your wallet) exhausted.

What Does HVAC Exhaust Do?

HVAC systems move air in your house. There are a lot of ways to do that, and a lot of options, but at the end of the day it’s all about moving air. Many folks think that’s just heating and cooling, but a big part of that is taking air you don’t want and removing it from your home. That’s where exhaust comes in. Say you burn something on your stove. What’s the first thing you do? Turn on the stovetop fan, of course! That’s what the vent hood is there for. And that sucks the smoky air into a vent that opens outside the house, releasing it back into the wild—all part of the HVAC system that also heats and cools your house.[1. https://www.hvacwebconnection.com/hvacarticles/ventingtoday1.htm]

Why Is HVAC Exhaust Important?

So why should you be thinking about HVAC exhaust? Great question, and the answer is: because most people don’t. Air conditioning and heating get all the attention, but exhaust is equally important and it gets little spotlight in the minds of homeowners. Take your clothes dryer. It produces hot air—a lot of it, in fact—that would make the laundry room swelter if it wasn’t vented out of the house by an exhaust system. And the bathroom fan that removes hot water vapors as well as odors has to put that air somewhere. So outside it goes, courtesy of the venting systems.

And don’t get me started on stovetop vent hoods–we knew a homeowner who had bought a great stovetop vent hood for a beautiful new conduction stovetop. His remodeled kitchen was gorgeous; you could have filmed a cooking tv show in it. But this new vent hood required a much bigger duct for the powerful fan than the old one did, and he didn’t realize that you can’t always just hook it up. He needed to replace the entire exhaust duct, because that fan needed more room to push air.[2. https://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-HERS-BPI/bid/47026/5-Reasons-Bath-Fans-Have-Such-Poor-Air-Flow] If the duct was too small, the motor would work too hard, and burn up quickly. And at that point you’re SOL—straight outta luck—because the vent hood manufacturer specifies that you use a certain size of duct when installing the hood. If you don’t, the warranty is null and void!

Time to Call a Professional

This is why any time you’re putting in a new dryer, fan, or vent hood, you need to make sure your ducts are properly sized for the fan in the appliance. That’s why installation of these items should be done by a professional HVAC technician like Bell Bros. Even if it’s a just a small job or replacement, give us a call or have your remodeling contractor do so. We play well with others, and we promise you won’t have any surprises! It’s a great way to make sure the work is done right, and that none of your new HVAC devices void their warranties upon installation.

Speaking of remodeling, you may need to relocate or remove exhaust ducting to meet your needs. Any time you have to do this, call an HVAC pro to do the work. We mentioned before that most homeowners don’t think about HVAC exhaust. But the truth is, not all professional contractors think about it either. Even very competent remodeling contractors may not be familiar with ducting and other HVAC work, and often that means that necessary HVAC work is added on as an afterthought or a last step in the remodeling process, and that goes double for exhaust. In many cases, it’s ducted out of the house as directly as possible, which sounds great in principle, until you see it in practice. We’ve seen homes where the vent hood or dryer exhaust empties right outside the front door, leaving smoky air, odors, and dryer lint to float in the breeze right in front of the home. This can be very unpleasant for the homeowner, and can be fixed by an HVAC pro who reroutes the ducts to empty into a less noticeable location. But it’s easiest when addressed early in the design process—so if you’re thinking remodel, think HVAC early in the game, and think Bell Bros as the way to get your job done right.