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Consequences of poor ventilation

Consequences of poor ventilation
Posted on 2-6-2020 by Felix Dijkmeijer

Do you ever think about the air you breathe? Every year, 50.000 people die in the United Kingdom due to air pollution. Polluted air is not always visible to the eye, but everyone breathes in air pollution. It causes lung diseases such as asthma, COPD or lung cancer but also heart disease, dementia and premature births. When pregnant women breathe in polluted air for prolonged periods of time, this can harm the development of the unborn child. Damage to the brain and lungs cannot be reversed in children, they will suffer from this for the rest of their lives.

What does polluted air consist of?

Unnoticed you inhale polluted air from e.g. traffic or industry. Think of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, smog and soot. CO2, also known as carbon dioxide, occurs naturally in the atmosphere. Every living organism, man and animal, emits CO2. Moreover, CO2 is released during the combustion of carbon or fossil fuels. Globally, the concentration has increased considerably since the industrial revolution. This greenhouse gas has a major impact on the environment and poses a risk to your health.

Fine dust, CO2, volatile organic compounds, moisture and moulds and carbon monoxide in combination with poor ventilation are the culprits of polluted air in the home. The smaller the particulate matter, the more harmful it is to your health. Ultra fine dust can penetrate deep into the lungs and can cause cardiovascular disease because this type of fine dust also enters the bloodstream. In addition, tobacco smoke, mould, house dust mite, combustion gases such as cooking air and smoke from candles and the fireplace and radon, also cause pollution of the indoor climate.

Poor ventilation

Polluted air in combination with poor ventilation causes dry throat and eyes, concentration disorders, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, poor sleep, drowsiness, dizziness. In addition, complaints may develop such as chronic colds or respiratory infections, development of asthma or other lung diseases. In addition, cardiovascular disease and cancer are also consequences of prolonged exposure to polluted air.

Consequences CO2

 CO2 value


  • 390 tot450 ppm
  • GNo symptoms. Natural outdoor air content.
  • 450 to 800 ppm
  • Well-ventilated home or office.
  • 800 to 1200 ppm
  • Drowsiness from prolonged exposure. Ventilation is desired.
  • 1200 to 2000 ppm
  • Health problems can occur. Ventilation is necessary.
  •  2 Vol.%
  • Accelerated breathing. Slight narcotic effect, increase in blood pressure and pulse rate, decrease in hearing.
  • 4 - 5 Vol.%
  • Dizziness, confusion and feeling of breathlessness with prolonged exposure. Ultimately unconsciousness. Above 5%, panic attacks can occur.
  • 8 Vol.%
  • Headaches, sweating, loss of sight and cramps. Unconscious after 5 to 10 minutes, followed by death after 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • =20 Vol.% 
  • Unconscious after a few breaths, quickly followed by respiratory arrest. Dead after a few minutes.

What can you do yourself?

You can make the air healthier in your own environment by, for example, taking your bike more often or travelling by public transport. Working from home and communication via telephone or internet contribute to a healthier air. By car, right? If so, check your car's tire pressure regularly; the better the pressure, the less particulate matter is released. You can also improve air quality at home or in the office. Stoves, fireplaces, fire baskets, barbecues and candles have a polluting effect. Make a conscious choice for green electricity or install your own solar panels. A good ventilation system ensures a sufficient supply of fresh outside air and discharges polluted and humid air containing bacteria. In addition, a ventilation system in combination with a CO2 meter allows you to influence the CO2 level in the room. This allows you to take action yourself by extra ventilation.

Measuring CO2

A ventilation system in combination with a CO2 monitor allows you to influence the CO2 content in the room. This allows you to take action yourself by extra ventilation. CO2 is expressed in ppm (parts per milion), we advise to aim for a value of 600 ppm. Some CO2 monitors also measure the humidity in the house. Air that is too dry is irritating to the airways and air that is too humid can cause mold. The air humidity is expressed in rh (relative humidity), we advise to aim for an air humidity percentage of 50%.

EnviSense CO2 monitor with data logger - CO2 smart
CO2 meter – air indicator including temperature and humidity display
CO2 meter — air indicator compact including temperature display

Clean/replace your filters regularly

It is necessary to change the filters of your ventilation system or air filter box at regular intervals. The filters of your MVHR capture dust, grease and dirt and provide clean air in your home. In order to guarantee the quality of the air, performance of the device and the preservation of warranty we advise to replace the filters every 3 months. Do you live near a busy road or a business park? Your filters are more likely to be full of (fine) dust and dirt. Check and replace your filters to guarantee the air quality of your indoor climate.

Don't forget your valves

Don't forget to clean the ventilation valves as well. These are easy to clean yourself with soapy water. Make sure the valves are thoroughly dry before you replace them. Make sure that the valve opening matches the original opening. This has an effect on the airflow of the ventilation system.

Clean channels

A ventilation system in the home or office ensures healthy air. The ventilation ducts transport the clean air from the outside to the inside and remove the dirty air. The dirty air is filtered through the filters in the mechanical ventilation or HRU. Despite the filtering of air, dust and grease particles accumulate in the ducts over time. This also attracts viruses, bacteria and fungi that are spread throughout the home. Because dust and dirt accumulate, the air can flow less well. As a result, the capacity of the ventilation system decreases. As a result, the system has to work harder, which can lead to more noise and even overheating. We recommend maintenance for your ducts every 6 to 8 years. With a special rotating brush the ducts can be cleaned well.

What do you need?

  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A brush
  • A flat screwdriver
  • Socket set


For your own safety, make sure the power is removed from the ventilation system. Open the front of the box with the screwdriver. The motor can be snapped out of the unit by unsnapping the lugs with the screwdriver. Loosen the flexible tube and put it aside so that dirt particles from the ventilation box do not get into the ventilation duct.


The inside of the ventilation system can be cleaned with a brush. Keep the vacuum cleaner at hand to immediately vacuum up the dirt from the box or unit. Then the motor of the fan can be cleaned. Proceed with care so that the balancing flap does not come loose. Optionally, you can also loosen the fan with the socket wrench, so that you can reach it anywhere. To clean the ducts, use a rotating brush. Because of the rotating movements, the duct can also be cleaned from the inside. The dirt is then collected by the vacuum cleaner. If you do not have a rotating brush, please contact an installer in your home town.

Do you have any questions about ventilating? We would love to hear from you! You can contact us for even more tips and advice on ventilation and your health.

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