Dec 18, 2012 3:00 PM  PST

GreenPointers: Kitchen and Bathroom Ventilation Fans


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San Francisco includes Green Labels in Real Estate Records

San Francisco is greening its real estate records. Ecologically-sustainable building practices — "green labels" —will now be included on official land records maintained by the city, according to Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting and Department of Environment Director Melanie Nutter.

That means that along with information on square footage and assessment and complaints about things like bed bugs and rat infestations, with a few clicks you will be able to check out whether a building has a GreenPoint Rated or Energystar certification.

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GreenPointers:
Kitchen and Bathroom Ventilation Fans


Our series of GreenPointers provides helpful tips for a healthier, greener home in a variety of topics. Today's topic is Kitchen and Bathroom Fans.

Kitchens and bathrooms produce odors and a lot of moisture that can cause problems if the rooms are not properly ventilated. Excessive moisture resulting from poor ventilation is one of the main causes of mold in homes, and can lead to rot and other damage to the building's structure. Also, gas ovens and gas cooktops produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and other pollutants that should be vented out of the kitchen


Green Pointers

Venting kitchen range hoods and bathroom fans to the outdoors reduces the amount of moisture inside the home and helps keep the indoor air healthier. Energy Star–qualified exhaust fans have durable, high performance motors and on average, they use 65% less energy than non-Energy Star models.

Energy Star exhaust fans are also less noisy. Energy Star–qualified bathroom fans and range hood fans are required to be quieter (less than 2.0 sones) so that people will be more likely to use them.

Here are some pointers for purchasing exhaust fans:
 
Step 1

CHOOSE PRACTICAL-SIZED HOODS

  Don't buy overpowered range exhaust hoods; they can cause backdrafting of fireplaces and other combustion appliances. Backdrafting can occur when an exhaust fan, clothes dryer or leaky ducts negatively pressurize a house; this negative pressure can pull carbon monoxide into the house from the flue of a fireplace, furnace or water heater. See our know-how feature on Carbon Monoxide and Combustion Safety for information about preventing backdrafting.

Step 2

CONTROL FANS AUTOMATICALLY

  Choose bathroom fans that are controlled by a timer or humidistat to ensure that the fan stays on long enough to adequately ventilate the room. Timers are triggered when the fans are turned on, and then run for a set time; 15 to 30 minutes usually works well. Humidistat controllers are even better, as they automatically switch on when moisture in the air reaches a threshold level, and shut down when the moisture level subsides
 
Step 3

LEARN MORE

  The Home Ventilating Institute has detailed information on what to look for when purchasing a bathroom or range hood exhaust fan, including recommended ventilation rates based on bathroom size, kitchen size, oven/range output and location of hood: www.hvi.org/publications/index.cfm.


 

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