With space a valuable commodity, many are looking to utilise the small and underground rooms in their homes, or create new ones. With this trend comes the question – how can you ventilate a space without windows?
While air circulation is something to consider in all indoor environments, it can be less of an issue in homes when simply opening a window can let in a gust of fresh air. This is particularly the case in moderate climates where it’s rarely too hot or cold to shut out the great outdoors, or in open plan spaces where stale air is less likely to get trapped in cramped rooms.
In contrast, windowless spaces can force you to think about how much the lack of fresh, circulating air can affect your health and wellbeing.
Ventilation can be more important in some spaces than others. For example, kitchens and workshops can create smoke and fumes which can become harmful when they build up over time. In this case, it’s vital to work out a solution beforehand, perhaps involving vents or extractor fans. Gyms are another environment where a good supply of fresh air is important and may benefit from mechanical heat recovery ventilation.
However, rarely used spaces and storage rooms can also benefit from better ventilation. When air does not circulate properly in a space, patches of moisture, mould, or bacteria can grow. This may ultimately spread to other rooms or cause damage to your property. In extreme cases, it can also trigger allergies and health issues.
Whilst the optimum way to introduce a plentiful supply of fresh air is to install a ducted ventilation system using heat recovery to maximise energy efficiency, we recognise that this is not always an option for domestic settings and for those on a lower budget. There are several other ways in which ventilation and the quality of the air could be improved.
In this post, we will explore 10 possible solutions to increase air circulation and ventilation in a windowless room.
1. Air Conditioning
As well as regulating the heat of the room, a well designed air conditioning system can help with ventilation. There are many different types of air conditioners. In domestic settings in the UK, the most common types are portable air conditioners and split system air conditioning units.
Portable Air conditioners are approximately the size of a kitchen bin and, as the name suggests, they can be moved around as needed. They’re a budget-friendly option which cools warm, humid air, expels the hot air outside, and blows out the cooler, drier air.
Traditionally, these units need to be connected to a window. However, some models can work with a wall vent where this is an option.
Split system air conditioners are often wall-mounted. They consist of an outside and inside part, with pipe work connecting the two, but the indoor and outdoor units don’t always have to be close to each other. This option is more expensive than a portable air conditioner. However, they are also quieter, more powerful, and provide better energy efficiency. They generally do not require air conditioning.
To learn more about these domestic air conditioning solutions, read our blog on the advantages and disadvantages of each.
2. Extractor fans
Extractor fans are most commonly used in kitchens without functional windows. They can capture any steam, smoke, or moisture produced as you cook and redistribute it elsewhere. This can reduce the amount of humidity in the space while providing some ventilation as fresh air is drawn in to replace the extracted air.
3. Grills or ventilation fans between rooms
Where your windowless space adjoins to a well-ventilated room, you might consider using grills or ventilation fans to allow air to move between the two spaces. This is possible when rooms are next to each other or where one is on top of the other.
It’s important to note that this solution is only suitable where the adjoining room benefits from quality ventilation already, to avoid the same stale air from being recycled between the two spaces.
4. Temporary ducts
Temporary ducts can be a solution when improved ventilation is only required for a short period. For example, if you are planning to paint the space or use chemicals which may produce fumes.
These can be created using a long, loose duct and an inline extractor fan. Simply fit the extractor fan to one end of the duct within the windowless room and run the other end to the nearest outside space.
5. Leaving doors open
It’s a simple solution, but it can make a world of difference. Leaving doors open can allow the air from better ventilated rooms to flow into the windowless one.
Door placement can also make a difference. If your door is around a corner, it won’t be best placed to supply fresh air to the rest of the room. You might also choose to install a grill in your door or leave a gap at the bottom for ventilation when you first hang the door.
This can be particularly effective when used in conjunction with…
While they won’t provide fresh air, both portable fans and ceiling fans can improve the air circulation in the room, preventing it from becoming still and stale.
When placed by a doorway, they can also encourage air to move between rooms.
7. Perforated building materials
If you’re creating a new room, or renovating an existing structure, you could choose to use perforated building materials.
Air bricks, for example, can improve the airflow of a space. Hidden airbricks are often used high up in the wall, whereas other types are used below floor level to prevent moisture from building up under floors or within wall cavities.
These can be made from a variety of materials including clay, cast iron and plastic. A fine mesh across the brick can prevent it from becoming a home to insects or pests.
It is important that these bricks remain exposed, as painting or plastering over them will prevent them from providing ventilation.
8. Passive Vents
Passive vents are a popular ventilation system for rooms without windows, particularly when they have exterior walls. These are often louvered vents specifically, which provide some control over the air entering the room.
These are vents which go directly into the wall, without the need to install ductwork. However, compared to systems like roof vents, the amount of ventilation provided may vary depending on the direction and strength of the wind, as well as anything blocking it outside.
Passive venting can also be useful if you’re using your space as a laundry room, as it can be used to vent the additional heat and humidity created by machines such as tumble driers.
9. Portable Evaporative Coolers
Portable Evaporative Coolers work in a similar way to fans. However, the air they blow out is exposed to wet cooling pads beforehand , so the ambient temperature of the room is lowered over time.
Like fans, they can’t introduce fresh air into the room, but they can encourage the existing air to circulate and cool down hot rooms. They can also raise the humidity of a room.
Another low budget way to stir the air in the room is to use a dehumidifier.
These will process the existing air in the room, reducing the build-up of damp air or moisture. By sucking in and blowing out air, they can also help with air circulation within the space.
Although there are limited ways to ventilate a windowless room, there are many ways you can make the air more pleasant to breathe, or encourage air flow.
Although these options may not have the effect of removing moisture or stale air from the room, they can still boost the wellbeing of those using the space.
These ideas include:
- Using scented candles
- Growing air purifying plants
- Reducing the amount of furniture in the room
- Installing a portable air purifier
If you’re considering how to improve the ventilation in your windowless space, give our experts at TEK a call.
We’re specialists in air conditioning and climate control for domestic, commercial, and industrial properties. Serving areas throughout the UK from our South West base, we can help design and install all aspects of ventilation.