How does fresh air get inside a house with central heating other than through cracks of door or window on a cold winter day




Last Updated March 08, 2017 12:21 PM

I'm not sure how fresh air, or oxygen, gets inside my house other than through cracks of window or door on a cold winter day when the central heating system is on.

I have a pipe that is coming from outside in my basement and delivers air to my basement (there is no fan in it or anything just a pipe by itself). And I think that is meant for providing fresh oxygen for the gas furnace to burn. However, since it is not directly connected to the furnace air intake vent ( a white J-shaped pipe), there will be some outside fresh air delivered to my basement, but in no way is that an effective way of delivering fresh air to the whole house.

So I'm asking this question because sometimes I feel suffocated even when the central fan is on in my house, and I have already positioned myself to be near the vents to make sure there are air flowing around my head. I can't really open the window because my window is facing a...

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Does condensation build up on the inside of your home’s windows during the heating season? If it does, you’re not alone. Winter window condensation is a growing problem in Canada and its root has a surprising origin.

As homes are sealed better against air leakage, natural ventilation to the outdoors is reduced. As a result, indoor air becomes much more likely to contain damaging levels of moisture during winter.

If your windows sweat enough during the heating season to require periodic wiping with a towel, then you have a problem. And this problem goes beyond ruined window-frame finishes and mould growth on windowsills. It includes the very real potential for decay within wall cavities and attics, too. Window condensation can also be a sign of low indoor-air quality which affects your health.

Where the water comes from

When warm, moist indoor air meets the cooler surfaces of windows during winter, condensation develops on the glass. It’s the same thing...

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If this question has been playing on your mind, read on to find an answer.

One question which a lot of people ask about their heating is: ‘is it cheaper and more energy-efficient to heat the whole house, or just the room I’m using?’

A new energy-efficient boiler could save you hundreds off your heating bill every year.

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For example, if you mainly use your living room during the day, should you have the central heating off and just heat that room with a fire or heater?

The main method you use to heat your home has the biggest influence on whether it’s worth heating a room individually or not, but the size of the room in question – compared to the size of your whole house – is also key.

If you have a modern boiler

If you have a modern gas or oil central heating system and a well insulated home, it’s probably best to use your central heating to heat most of your home, rather than just heating one room...

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Published: June 19, 2014 - by Dan Holohan

Categories: Hot Water

Q: What's "indirect" heating?
A: It's a method of heating the old-timers used to warm fresh air before it entered a building.

Q: How did they do this?
A: They placed the indirect radiators outside the room they were heating (that's where the name "indirect" comes from). They used ductwork to direct the fresh, outside air across these remote radiators where it would be warmed before rising into the rooms.

Q: Where exactly did they place these radiators?
A: Almost always in the basement, and usually right under the room they were heating, but they could also put them in a central location and feed the ductwork off to the rooms. It all depended on the size and shape of the house.

Q: What sort of houses had this type of heating system?
A: Big houses! Indirect heating was mostly the province of rich folks. Rich folks loved this type of heating system.

Q: How...

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If you’re like millions of homeowners, you’re at your wits’ end about ants. They seem to be everywhere and nowhere at once. They crawl across countertops. They circle a drop of spilled soda. They’re exploring the sink like tourists at the Grand Canyon!

But where are all of these ants coming from? How are ants entering your house? They seem to come from nowhere to exploit every housekeeping mistake you make!

Let’s take a look at all the different ways that ants can get inside a home. Understanding how ants find their way inside is often the first step in treating an ant infestation, so let’s study these points of entry.

Cracks & Seams in Walls

Most homes aren’t hermetically sealed, meaning there is some air exchange between the inside of the house and the outside. This air exchange usually takes place along the seams of walls and windows as well as doors and vents. These gaps are large enough for ants to find a path into your home. Look for these seams...

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The average house — even when well-insulated — contains cracks and gaps between building materials that can add up to a hole about 14 inches square.

A ceiling opening from the living area into an unheated attic can be a place for heat loss. The edges should be weatherstripped, and the backside of the attic door insulated.

Holes to accommodate pipes, ducts and vents can release a tremendous amount of heat and should be sealed with a general- purpose caulk or foam spray.

Recessed lights, wiring and plumbing in insulated ceilings can result in heat loss. High-temperature, flexible caulk can be used to fill gaps.

Missing or poorly fitting dampers allow air to move freely up and down the chimney. To test the damper’s seal, close the flue, light a small piece of paper and watch the smoke. If the smoke goes up the flue, there’s an air leak.

Air leaks through gaps around windows and doors typically are a major sources of heat loss. Weatherstripping and...

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Video Script: Why does an HRV help solve high moisture problems & indoor air quality problems in the home?
Hi Folks, I'm Jason Edwards from Ardent Heating, Air Conditioning & Water Treatment Specialists, located in Barrie, Ontario.
Today I want to talk to you about why an HRV is important. An HRV is a Heat Recovery Ventilator. A Heat Recover Ventilator is very important to two reasons:
1. It exchanges the air inside the home.
2. It helps gets rid of excess moisture, if you have any moisture problems in the home, it's going to help with that.
Let's break it down and we'll talk about the first reason: air exchanging. When you exchange the air inside your house, what you are doing is taking the polluted air from inside your house and you're getting rid of it to the outdoors. At the same time, you are bringing fresh air into your home, and this makes for a very good environment when it comes to air quality. You may ask why do I have to do this, why is it...

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So we’ve all heard this one before while growing up, “Don’t leave the front door standing open! You’re letting all the heat out!”

If you think about it that sounds a little far fetched that all the heat in a house will magically spew forth an open door. So is there really any truth to this, or is it all just a bunch of hub-bub?

Is the Air Really Going Out the Open Door?

As a child it’s hard to imagine that all the heat in your house would magically disperse through an open door. And if it did, surely it wouldn’t happen quickly enough to warrant such an immediate hysterical reaction from someone. When comparing a large 1,800 sqft home for instance to the size of one small doorway, it just doesn’t add up. But there may be more truth to this than you think.

We have to take a closer look into what exactly is happening when a door is opened in a home to find out the truth behind this old saying. To answer this quickly, I would have to say YES! It actually...

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It’s coming up on holiday time, or a better way to put it “hibernation time”. Whether it’s inside, outside, or even just your clothes. This is the time to clean. Well, at least it is for me. I will be having both holidays at my house this year. I’ve jotted down a few ideas for me but figured I’d share them with you. We all may be in the same boat. I’m eco-friendly and guessing you are too, so here are some ways to start the fall season, or if you are like my mother consider hiring Think Maids Cleaning Services. They always get the job done!

The Heat is On

Before firing up your furnace and/or fireplace it’s very important to make sure that everything is in working order. This will lessen the chance of a problem in the middle of winter! Nobody wants a heat issue when it’s FREEZING out! Start off with the fireplace if you have one. Make sure that everything is clean and functioning. If you haven’t gotten it inspected in a while we would suggest having a professional...

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This might be more appropriate in one of the Florida forums, but figured I'd ask here first. I just found out my HVAC systems (two zones - two air handlers) are closed off from the outside. There is no external venting or air intake connected to the system to bring fresh air inside the home. Only thing we have vented to the outside is our dryer vent and bathroom fans - but those aren't connected to our HVAC system.

Is this normal in high heat and humidity areas of the country? Our AC rep says the HVAC is closed off from the outside to prevent humidity, mold spores, dust etc. from getting into the house. I can see his point, but it doesn't make sense to me that we just keep recirculating the same air over and over again. Colds and fevers from one familiy member quickly make their way to others and we're constantly getting sick. I'd think recirculating the same air can't be any good. Anyone ever deal with this? How do you get fresh air while maintaining a clean, cool, low...

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If you live in a poorly insulated home, and many of us do, you could spend thousands this winter on energy bills. But our ancestors had many ways to keep snug at little or no cost. Now, thanks to modern infrared cameras and advances in environmental physics, we can understand how these methods work and measure how effective they are.

The key to understanding how to keep warm is the fact you lose more heat by radiation to your surroundings than you do by convection to the air. This is why your house feels so cold when you get back from a winter break, even after you’ve turned on the central heating; though the air quickly warms up, the walls take far longer to do so and may continue to make you shiver for up to a day.

What to do about those warm windows? Roland Ennos, Author provided

In the same way, in poorly insulated houses the inside of the external walls can be several degrees colder than the air and the internal walls, making you feel...

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The first of October is "central heating day", when many people switch on their radiators for the winter. Central heating is just another mod-con of contemporary living, but it's done much more than warm us up.

Up and down the country, radiators clank their way back to life after a summer of hibernation.

With energy bills soaring in recent years, and more people aware of energy consumption, many make it a point of principle that their heating stays off until the start of October, which means any nippy late September mornings just have to be endured.

But given how mild the autumn has been so far, others may wait a couple more weeks before the big switch-on.

Only a small fraction of UK homes are without central heating today. In the last comprehensive survey, in 2004, it was 7% of households, and that has probably dropped further since.

Far from being a modern invention, there were forms of central heating systems in...

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Thanks to a certain Mr Stark and lots of internet tinkering, “WINTER IS COMING” has now made its way into meme folklore – but right now, as the days grow ever shorter, that meme has never been more appropriate.

We take a look at what effect winter can have on us, in what we thought was the safety of our own homes.

The weather boffins have told us to ‘brace ourselves’ for snow, sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds over the next few weeks and I for one will be making sure the BTUs are pumping out when I get up in the morning and when I come home from work at night.

But as the temperature drops, the flu jab queues go in to overdrive and that awful salty residue makes its way onto your favourite blue suede shoes, we all begin to rely more heavily upon our central heating systems to keep us warm, dry and comfortable.

But could turning up the heat on your thermostat be doing you and your family more harm than good?

Could your central...

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A freak winter storm has cut off power in your area, and they are predicting that it will not return for three days. How do you keep your family alive in freezing temperatures? Here are ten tips to keep from freezing during winter’s harshest weather.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in some of the coldest climates on earth? I’ll be real with you – it might kill me. We frequently visit a relative’s house during the winter. Our room is upstairs in a converted attic. If I forget to crack the door at night (we’re used to sleeping with our doors closed at home), our room is so cold by morning. And by cold, I mean probably only in the upper 50’s, but I’m freezing to death, even under all the blankets and in flannels.

But there are sturdier men and women like me living in the harshest climates, and doing it well.

Meet my friend, Rhonda Van Zandt. She lives in Alaska with her husband out in the wilderness. They shop in town once a year, they provide...

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Insulation reduces the exchange of heat through a surface such as a wall, attic, duct or roof. In a well-insulated home, less warm air escapes from the house during the winter, and less cool air escapes during the summer, reducing the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling (see References 1). Improving the insulation in older structures may lower your annual heating and cooling bill by up to 20 percent (see References 2).

Insulating Walls, Floors and Attics

The outer shell, or envelope, of your home is the barrier that prevents the temperatures of the inside and outside air from equalizing. The better insulated the walls, floors and roof are, the less energy your heating and cooling systems have to use to warm or cool the air in your home (see References 2). Since heat rises, insulating your roof is especially important to keep warm air inside in cold climates (see References 1).

Sealing Air Leaks

Even walls with good insulation can let warm...

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Note: This is a revised version of an article I wrote for ye olde blogge about how to keep warm if you need to.

Despite the fact that I believe people should use a lot less energy, I am not proposing here that people in cold climates go cold turkey on supplemental heating ;-). This post is, instead, about *how to survive* if you find yourself without heating fuel in a cold climate. Why do you need to know this? Because it happens, and more often than you think. How could it happen? Well, you could live in a place that requires minimal supplemental heat, and have a sudden, unusual cold snap, as much of Florida just did. Or you could rely on electric lines that are down, and find yourself without a furnace. You could find yourself unable to pay your utility bill, and despite legal obstacles to shutting people off during winter, find yourself, as some people have, without heat. Or you could rely on propane and oil and simply have no money to fill your tank, as others do. Or...

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This page explains what actions to take when you receive a winter weather storm alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a snowstorm or extreme cold.

Know your risk


A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other...

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At the start of every summer, as the temperature rises, my husband and I seem to have the same discussion… when to turn on the air conditioning!

This is never an easy discussion (okay! read: argument!) as this is the man who wears shorts and t-shirts around the house when it is 19 degrees outside in the dead of winter.

I prefer the open windows and doors, and want to breathe the fresh air. To this my husband responds “Babe, it ceases to be fresh as soon as it’s 86 degrees with 70% humidity!” Well, it’s still fresh but I guess it does cease to be RE-freshing!

Just like heating your house in the winter and whether you do or don’t choose to crank the AC, there are ways to keep your house cooler, stop some of the cool air loss and use less energy in the process:

Close blinds or curtains in various windows throughout the day to prevent the sun shining in. If it’s coming in, so is the heat. Use ceiling fans. They circulate the cool air and don’t use a lot of...
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The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAEAmerican Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). International organization dedicated to the advancement of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration through research, standards writing, publishing, and continuing education. Membership is open to anyone in the HVAC&R field; the organization has about 50,000 members. ) has had a residential ventilation standard since 2003, when ASHRAE 62.2A standard for residential mechanical ventilation systems established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Among other requirements, the standard requires a home to have a mechanical ventilation system capable of ventilating at a rate of 1 cfm for every 100 square feet of occupiable space plus 7.5 cfm per occupant. (“Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings”) was first approved...

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1941 Octopus Furnace. Asbestos insulated octopus arms (ducts) supply heat to rooms..

Do you have a vintage house? Does it still have an old Octopus Furnace?

Vintage Parlors are nice but they’re a dime a dozen. It’s rare you see a kitchen that matches the period of the house. More rare to find a vintage furnace! This however, is the stuff your guests will remember.

My house was built in 1910 but unfortunately I do not have a 1910 furnace. It’s possible that the kitchen stove heated part of the house and the rest remained unheated.

In 1941 however, a brand new American Standard/Sunbeam Octopus Furnace was installed to provide central heating.

The octopus furnace was a coal burning gravity hot air type. A gravity furnace heats the air and the hot air slowly rises through a duct system as hot air always rises.

Rear view: White painted asbestos insulated arms supply heat. Un-insulated arms supply fresh air. Center duct vents to...

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Happy July 18th. It sure is hot these days, isn’t it?

Statistically speaking, a good portion of the continental US and Canada has its hottest average day of the year right around now. So I thought it was a good time to share some thoughts on the modern household’s biggest energy consumer in July – the Air Conditioner.

See, normally I’d assume that we’re all adults and we’re able to decide for ourselves how to run our own appliances. But after being on my current summer vacation for over three weeks and visiting a large number of family and friends throughout the not-overly-hot Great Lakes region, I’ve noticed that most people leave their goddamned air conditioners running 24 hours a day, whether it is warm or cool outside, with their houses at a stupidly low temperature. Yes folks, it has become obvious that America and Canada both need a lesson from Mr. Money Mustache on how to use their Air Conditioners.

I recently measured the power consumption of the...

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There’s a lot of confusion surrounding attic fans. Here at, we regularly receive e-mails from homeowners with questions about attic fans: What’s the purpose of the fan in my attic? How often should I run it? Do I need a bigger fan?

Before addressing these recurring questions, it’s important to define our terms. First, we need to distinguish between three different types of ventilation fans.

The most common kind of residential ventilation fan is one used to provide fresh air for building occupants. Examples of this type of fan include the fans in a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces...

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