What Does a Make-Up Air System Do?
A Make-Up Air System is an HVAC solution that pulls in fresh, tempered air from outside your office building to replace existing air that can’t be recirculated. It’s pretty simple. The main purpose of this system is to “make up” the air in your building that has been removed due to exhaust fans.
Why Is It Needed?
A depressured office is a sign that your building needs a Make-Up Air System. Depressurization is incredibly common as it can occur from exhaust ventilation systems in the office such as a bathroom fan or the exhaust hood in the company kitchen.
Replacement or make-up air traditionally would infiltrate through leaks in the building shell and replenish the air, solving the issue of depressurization. But, with building’s becoming increasingly tighter (sealed better so outside air can’t get in), a make-up system is needed. A successful system provides replacement air as needed from a controlled source into the return air plenum where it is tempered and distributed throughout the office — allowing all employees to enjoy the benefits of fresh air.
Difference Between a Make-Up Air System and Standard Ventilation Systems?
A standard ventilation fan pumps outside air into the building just like a Make-Up Air System, but it doesn’t go through the trouble of heating or tempering it. For example, if the outside temperature is 95 °F with an 80% relative humidity, standard ventilation would bring that scorching hot air with all 80% of its humidity inside your office building. In order to keep everyone comfortable at the office, a Make-Up Air System that regulates the temperature of the air coming indoors may be the best option.
Benefits of a Make-Up Air System
1. Improves Indoor Air Quality
A known way to reduce the number of indoor air pollutants is to increase the amount of outdoor air that gets pumped into the office. This is where a Make-Up Air System is important. Ventilation also helps remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources. This reduces the level of contaminants and improves indoor air quality (IAQ).
2. Protect the Health of Employees
The IAQ of an office building can affect the health of its employees. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later. Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposure to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Long-term effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality to avoid any impact, short or long term.
3. Improves Appliance Efficiency
Without a make-up air system, exhaust ventilations like bathroom fans can create negative pressure causing heating appliances to take more time doing their jobs and wasting energy. Many offices have weather stripping, caulk, sealants, and moisture barriers to tighten the building with great a tight building. A tight office has a reduction in air changes and can lock the stale air inside if a make-up air system isn’t in place to circulate fresh air into the building. During this scenario, appliances around the office will take more energy to run. With a Make-Up Air System, it’s proven to give office ventilation appliances better energy efficiency.
At EnergyLink, we are committed to helping our clients find energy-saving solutions during this time. For more information on how to cut costs and how to finance an energy system upgrade, contact us! Or for more information on our HVAC solutions click here.