What are the Different Types of Ventilation Equipment?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Images By: Pengyou92, Sushaaa, Sunny, Massachusetts Dept. Of Environmental Protection, Johan Larson
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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Ventilation equipment is typically used in buildings and homes to improve the quality and regulate the temperature of the indoor air. This type of equipment is often needed to remove or prevent the buildup of such things as carbon dioxide, smoke, dust, odors, and moisture. The different types of ventilation equipment used in buildings and homes include fume hoods, room air distribution units, and heat recovery ventilation units.

Fume hoods are typically used in kitchen areas and laboratories. A fume hood usually draws air from inside of a building to the outside using some form of ductwork. Some fume hoods simply recirculate the indoor air after removing contaminants by means of a filter. Fume hoods vary in size from small units used in residential applications, to large commercial systems found in restaurants and cafeterias. Fume hoods are used in kitchens to remove smoke, heat, and odor. In laboratories, fume hoods are employed to help minimize exposure to dangerous vapors and dust. This type of ventilation equipment is generally used only in localized areas of a building or home.


Room air distribution units are typically used in homes and buildings to maintain both the temperature and quality of indoor air. These units are designed to mix new conditioned air with the existing air in a room or office. In this air mixing application, a centrally located air exchanger forces air from ceiling mounted diffusers into individual rooms through a network of air ducts. This forced air mixes with the existing air to control the temperature and humidity in the room. The air exchanger draws the existing room air into a filtration system to remove impurities and condition it for reuse. In large open buildings such as auditoriums, air is forced from floor mounted diffusers into seating and stage areas at a lower velocity and allowed to slowly rise to an overhead filtration system.

Heat recovery ventilation units operate by replacing stale contaminated air with fresh filtered outside air. In this type of ventilation system, fresh air is drawn inside through ductwork by the heat recovery unit and contaminated air is ventilated outside by separate ductwork. The warmer outgoing air is typically used to heat the cooler incoming air. Heat recovery ventilation units are especially useful for stabilizing the humidity levels inside of a building or home to make the air feel more comfortable. Although this type of ventilation equipment usually reduces indoor air pollutants more effectively, it is often less energy efficient to operate.


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