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prwood
Premium
join:2001-09-04
Danvers, MA

Mechanical ventilation for basement?

Massachusetts state building code requires natural ventilation for any habitable space that is equal to 4% of the finished floor space of any given room. If a room does not have adequate natural ventilation, you are permitted to use "mechanical ventilation" that is equivalent to the necessary natural ventilation.

We are working on finishing our basement, and we currently only have enough windows to ventilate part of our basement. The other part of the basement does not have any windows, and we are considering our options for ventilating it.

I am wondering what exactly would constitute "mechanical ventilation"? How would we go about installing something like that in our basement?



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA

I'm guessing something like a bathroom fan or perhaps just some kind of vent.



Old_Grouch
Don't just sit there silly DO something
Premium
join:2004-05-26
Greenwood, IN
kudos:1

said by bobrk:

I'm guessing something like a bathroom fan or perhaps just some kind of vent.
I'd try to find a way to use a vent fan so it only runs when/if you want.

And/or a quick duct into and out of the HVAC system like a tap to the cold air return and a run to a single register in the questioned space.
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Greg_Z
Premium
join:2001-08-08
Springfield, IL
reply to prwood

"Without mechanical ventilation to provide fresh air, moisture, odors, and other pollutants can build up inside a home. Mechanical ventilation systems circulate fresh air using ducts and fans, rather than relying on airflow through small holes or cracks in a homes walls, roof, or windows. Homeowners can breathe easier knowing their home has good ventilation."
»www.energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/···2906.pdf



prwood
Premium
join:2001-09-04
Danvers, MA

1 edit
reply to bobrk

said by bobrk:

I'm guessing something like a bathroom fan or perhaps just some kind of vent.
Someone had mentioned that to me, basically said it wouldn't be any different than installing a bathroom fan. The question now is how to vent the exhaust from the fan. We don't have an HVAC system (just hot water baseboard heat), so there's nothing to tap in to. We do have a dryer venting from down in the basement, so perhaps we could run a second flexible tube over from the room to the place where the dryer vents, and cut a second hole to add a new vent for the exhaust fan.

My only other question would be: The fan and vent would exhaust stale air, so how to get fresh air into the room?

efflandt

join:2002-01-25
Elgin, IL

said by prwood:

The question now is how to vent the exhaust from the fan. We don't have an HVAC system (just hot water baseboard heat), so there's nothing to tap in to.
Where does the hot water baseboard get its heat from (gas/oil boiler?)? You have to be careful about just exhausting any space, especially if there is a heating system (or fireplace) or gas water heater somewhere. Unless it is a high efficiency heating system that has both intake and exhaust piped outside, you could end up sucking fumes down the chimney.

Best would be some sort of air exchanger/heat exchanger that transfers room temperature going out to the fresh air coming in.


Greg_Z
Premium
join:2001-08-08
Springfield, IL
reply to prwood

You cannot exhaust through the Dryer vent, or any other vent that exhausts combustion byproducts. The Intake for Fresh air cannot be within 6' of a Exhaust vent, and cannot be obstructed.

Follow the .pdf link, and it will tell you everything in a nutshell, otherwise, wait till one of the HVAC guys comes along.



prwood
Premium
join:2001-09-04
Danvers, MA
reply to efflandt

The HWBB gets its heat from a gas furnace. We also have a gas water heater. They are in a separate utility room in the basement. The vents for these are on the roof in a chimney.

I am hoping for the simplest possible solution that would satisfy the code requirements, and that I could do myself without hiring an HVAC technician. (Not because I don't want one, but because we really don't have the money to hire one.)

said by efflandt:

said by prwood:

The question now is how to vent the exhaust from the fan. We don't have an HVAC system (just hot water baseboard heat), so there's nothing to tap in to.
Where does the hot water baseboard get its heat from (gas/oil boiler?)? You have to be careful about just exhausting any space, especially if there is a heating system (or fireplace) or gas water heater somewhere. Unless it is a high efficiency heating system that has both intake and exhaust piped outside, you could end up sucking fumes down the chimney.

Best would be some sort of air exchanger/heat exchanger that transfers room temperature going out to the fresh air coming in.


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to prwood

Are you sure this code applies to residential buildings and not commercial buildings? Do you have a link to the actual code? Did you get this information directly from the city building inspector? I've never heard of a building code that requires "natural mechanical ventilation" for a residence that doesn't have a forced air heat/cooling system, but there's always a first time.
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prwood
Premium
join:2001-09-04
Danvers, MA

said by SandShark:

Are you sure this code applies to residential buildings and not commercial buildings? Do you have a link to the actual code? Did you get this information directly from the city building inspector? I've never heard of a building code that requires "natural ventilation" for a residence that doesn't have a forced air heat/cooling system, but there's always a first time.
The town building inspector gave me the information about natural/mechanical ventilation. I also looked it up in the state building code for one and two family dwellings, the appropriate section of which can be found here:

»www.mass.gov/Eeops/docs/dps/Buil···053c.pdf

Under 780 CMR 5303 Light, Ventilation and Heating...

(Here's a link to the main index for the Mass. building code: »tinyurl.com/2qhwrq)


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3

I read it, but it doesn't go into very specific details and I'm not clear on what the actual requirements are. How are you supposed to control the mechanical ventilation, since you don't have a forced air heating/cooling system? What are the requirements for the penetration through the wall? Is it supposed to operate 24/7? Is it on a timer? If not, how is it controlled? I'd suggest, instead of asking in an Internet forum, getting the information from the horse's mouth - your city building inspector.
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rawgerz
The hell was that?
Premium
join:2004-10-03
Grove City, PA
reply to prwood

»www.ezbreathe.com/how3.asp



whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

1 edit
reply to prwood

"Massachusetts state building code requires natural ventilation for any habitable space that is equal to 4% of the finished floor space of any given room. If a room does not have adequate natural ventilation, you are permitted to use "mechanical ventilation" that is equivalent to the necessary natural ventilation."

Note that the code (you posted the link) says ventilation is required for 'habitable rooms', not 'habitable space'. This includes adjoining rooms with openings into habitable rooms (under very specific criteria), and bathrooms (which are not considered 'habitable rooms'.

You can handle this yourself, possibly with our help. First, you have to know the definition of, and what is considered a 'habitable room' by the code. Its not the Webster's definition. This definition can be found elsewhere in the code. (Look it up for us, and post that as well. Or ask your inspector if you are that friendly.) Typically, it is bedrooms and living rooms, only. In this case, connected space with open connections, like a kitchen, would factor into your calculations. My guess is that you have the natural ventilation; but the inspector wants to see your calculations, which should have been filed with any building plans.

How about posting a dimensioned floor plan with room areas & window dimensions? (Provide ceiling height, also.) The calculations are really quite easy, once you understand the definitions.