Ventilation

How to check and clean the ventilation in the apartment – an overview of the causes of blockages and their elimination

How to check and clean the ventilation in the apartment

If ventilation works well, we forget about its existence. We begin to wonder how to clean the ventilation in the apartment when mold appears on the walls and the smell of dampness in the bathroom, the laundry dries for a long time, the windows fog up and you can determine by smell what is being prepared for dinner with neighbors. After all, an indispensable condition for a person’s well-being is a constant influx of fresh clean air, and a violation of ventilation in the apartment leads to a decrease in working capacity, fatigue, the development of allergies, asthma and other chronic diseases.

Content

  • Reasons why ventilation does not work
  • Check the performance of the ventilation duct
  • How to clean the ventilation yourself with improvised means
  • An overview of ways to improve ventilation

Reasons why ventilation does not work

Unfortunately, effective complex installations of forced ventilation are still the prerogative of modern residential complexes of recent years of construction. The vast majority of apartment buildings, both old “Khrushchevs” and later nine-sixteen-story buildings, are equipped with ventilation systems with a natural motivation. This is the cheapest, well-known to all scheme, when ventilation ducts from each apartment are connected to the common vertical riser channel for access. There can be several reasons for the ventilation in the apartment, designed for natural air exchange due to “leaks” and cracks in windows and doors:

  • Replacing old windows with modern double-glazed windows. For the operation of the “hood” with natural motivation, a constant flow of air from the street, which was provided by the cracks of the old window, is necessary. An airtight heat-saving double-glazed window blocks the natural flow of air, air humidity rises, windows constantly fog up, mold and damp smell appear in the apartment. The room has to be constantly ventilated, as a result, the energy-saving function of plastic windows is not provided and measures are required to improve ventilation.
Replacing old windows with sealed double-glazed windows violates the natural air exchange and degrades ventilation in the apartment: air humidity rises, windows sweat, the smell of dampness appears

Replacing old windows with sealed double-glazed windows violates the natural air exchange and degrades ventilation in the apartment: air humidity rises, windows sweat, the smell of dampness appears

  • The ventilation duct is clogged, blocked during the redevelopment of another apartment in the stairwell, or air exhaust from a very powerful kitchen hood was removed into it. Natural ventilation of apartment buildings is calculated on an air consumption no more than 90 cubic meters. m / h and when you connect to it only one cooker hood, creating an air stream with a capacity of over 1000 cubic meters. m / h, the ventilation systems of neighboring apartments will inevitably suffer. If the ventilation riser is clogged, it will require professional cleaning, and in the second case, a complete repair of ventilation in the apartment due to the neighbor who created the problem.
  • In winter, the hood works well, and poor ventilation in the apartment is observed only in the summer heat. The main condition for the effective operation of ventilation with a natural motivation is the temperature difference indoors and outdoors.
    Ventilation with natural motivation in old houses is designed for temperature differences inside the apartment and outside, so in the summer it actually does not work, mold appears on the walls

    Ventilation with natural motivation in old houses is designed for temperature differences inside the apartment and outside, so in the summer it actually does not work, mold appears on the walls

    In summer, this difference is insignificant and the old norms of SNiP assumed that in summer tenants will ventilate the premises by opening windows. Regular cleaning of ventilation in the apartment can slightly normalize the situation, but only the installation of a forced system will completely solve the problem..

Check the performance of the ventilation duct

Knowing how to check ventilation in an apartment using improvised means, you can quickly establish the degree of its operability and take measures to improve its efficiency.

So, to check the draft in the ventilation duct, it is necessary to open the window in any room and bring the flame of a lighter or candle to the ventilation hole in the kitchen or bathroom. If the ventilation works well, it will pull the flame toward the channel. True, representatives of gas services do not recommend using this method in houses with gas mains due to its fire hazard in the event of a gas leak in any apartment in the entrance.

The lighter flames leaned toward the air vent: the ventilation worked perfectly. The candle flame confirms that the ventilation in the apartment is not working.

The lighter flames leaned toward the air vent: the ventilation worked perfectly. Candle flame confirms that ventilation in the apartment is not working.

There is a second, safe way. With the window open, a sheet of writing paper can be brought to the ventilation grill but better than a tissue or thin toilet. Good traction should pull the paper to the grate, i.e. ventilation works fine.

Checking ventilation with a sheet of paper: airflow holds the paper on the grill, ventilation works fine

Checking ventilation with a sheet of paper: airflow holds the paper on the grill, ventilation works fine

In hot weather, the air is too “heavy” and the effectiveness of natural ventilation cannot be verified using these methods. If when checking in cool weather the lighter’s flame remains stationary and the paper sheet does not stick to the grill, the ventilation must be cleaned.

How to clean the ventilation yourself with improvised means

One of the most common reasons due to which ventilation in the apartment does not work well can be normal clogging: fat deposits, dust, dirt, small debris that accumulate in ventilation duct mines for years.

According to the rules for operating multi-apartment residential buildings, access to tenants for public utilities is prohibited. Therefore, cleaning the ventilation in the apartment, as part of an apartment building, is a function of professional services licensed to perform such work and well familiar with the installation of the ventilation system in a particular house.

On the other hand, each owner of the apartment must maintain order all the engineering systems located in it and know how to clean the ventilation in the apartment, or rather, perform preventive cleaning of the ventilation duct going from the apartment to the common riser.

This is how the ventilation duct looks like before and after cleaning. You can only perform preventive cleaning of the ventilation duct located directly in the apartment yourself

This is how the ventilation duct looks like before and after cleaning. You can only perform preventive cleaning of the ventilation duct located directly in the apartment yourself

To do this, carefully remove the ventilation grill and wash off grease, dust and dirt from it. You can use neutral detergents. Dirt and grease from the walls of the channel adjacent to the hole must be scraped off with a scraper, and then, having inserted the vacuum cleaner hose into the ventilation hole, vacuum it well for 4-5 minutes, moving up and down the channel. After dry cleaning, an accessible area of ​​the ventilation duct is wiped with a slightly damp cloth and the hole is closed with a grill.

Important! During self-cleaning of the ventilation duct, it is strictly forbidden to lower bulky objects into it on a rope or use aggressive chemicals and solvents to dissolve difficult to remove impurities. Allowed is the use of dry ice, which perfectly dissolves fat deposits and evaporates without leaving a smell..

An overview of ways to improve ventilation

Simple mechanical cleaning of ventilation ducts, apartment and main, especially in houses of old construction is not always able to increase the efficiency of the ventilation system. A few recommendations on how to improve ventilation in the apartment will help you choose the best budget option, thanks to which your home will be filled with clean fresh air and life in it will become pleasant and comfortable..

When replacing old windows with double-glazed windows, select models with micro-ventilation. If ventilation problems occurred after installing plastic windows, you can install special devices on them that restore the natural air flow from the street: ventilating valves or fittings that close the window without spinning and simulate the cracks and leaks of old wooden windows. This low-cost improvement will save you from high humidity and the smell of dampness, but it will not solve the problem of cleaning polluted street air..

The ventilation valve built into the double-glazed window will improve ventilation in the apartment, but it will not solve the problems of street air cleaning

The ventilation valve built into the double-glazed window will improve ventilation in the apartment, but it will not solve the problems of street air cleaning

To improve the ventilation of individual rooms, kitchen, toilet, bathroom, you can install a supply and exhaust fan. These devices are quite effective, designed to work in conditions of high humidity and are available in window, ceiling or wall versions.

Wall, ceiling or window air intake valve increases ventilation efficiency in a separate room

Wall, ceiling or window air intake valve increases ventilation efficiency in a separate room

An integrated supply and exhaust ventilation system is able to provide a high-quality atmosphere in a room for any purpose, but this is an expensive project requiring a complete reconstruction of an apartment in an old building. Apartments in modern new homes are already equipped with such a ventilation system.

Even in an apartment with effective supply and exhaust ventilation, one should not refuse the advantages of natural ventilation, proven for centuries, especially if the house is located in a green zone. For example, a fireplace that ventilates the room well and drains air is a great example of a natural ventilation and air conditioning device, especially in winter.

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