Could a Lack of 'Make-Up Air' Be Putting Your Family At Risk? Tamarack Technologies Raises Important Issue; Provides Simple Solution

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Many homeowners who buy powerful range-hood fans for their aesthetic appeal, or powerful new whole house fans to cool and refresh the air in their homes may never have heard the term ‘make-up air.’ Unfortunately, what they don't know about this subject could put them and their family at risk.

“As industry leaders in whole house fans we can say with confidence that the simple – and best -- solution is to open a window or windows to allow make-up air into the house." Nelson Warner, VP, R&D, Tamarack Technologies

Many homeowners who buy powerful range-hood fans for their aesthetic appeal, or powerful new whole house fans to cool and refresh the air in their homes may never have heard the term ‘make-up air.’ Manufacturers have done an outstanding job of creating products to move stale, hot, foul air out of the home. So, understandably, they aren’t inclined to point out negative outcomes associated with the lack of make-up airflow back into the home.

“Range hoods that can exhaust up to 1200 cfm of air and whole house fans that similarly draw large amounts of air out of the living space need to replace that air,” said Nelson Warner, VP of Research and Development for Tamarack Technologies, creators of the modern whole house fan. “When homes were less tightly wrapped with gaps that could naturally let in replacement air, this wasn’t quite the problem it is today.”

“What happens when air is depleted as the result of the powerful pull of an exhaust fan is the absolute need to find an equal amount of make-up air somewhere. Often that ‘somewhere’ is a water heater flue or a wood-burning stove’s chimney, pulling air back into the house as a backdraft. The backdraft may include carbon monoxide which -- at its most dangerous -- can be life-threatening,” Warner added.

“As industry leaders in whole house fans we can say with confidence that the simple – and best -- solution is to open a window or windows to allow make-up air into the house. And, contrary to what some of our competitors say, there are no exceptions to this rule,” he added.

Make-up air also needs to be supplied to other exhaust appliances such as bathroom fans, clothes dryers and central vacuums each of which ventilates between 40 and 200 cfm. But those needs are dwarfed by many of the new range hoods. The home gourmet cooking trend on ever more complicated ranges has been mirrored by the development of more powerful range hoods. As these range hoods reach 1,200 cfm, manufacturers need to advise installers of the options available to them for providing enough make-up air to ensure a safe, comfortable environment for the homeowner. There are both active and passive mechanical make-up air systems available which grow increasingly expensive as the range hood’s power rises until they exceed the cost of the hood and draw tremendous amounts of electricity.

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Tamarack Technologies, headquartered on Cape Cod, MA, is an industry leader in ventilation solutions, manufacturing state-of-the-art whole house fans, indoor air exchange products, pressure balancing products and electronic controls. The company’s products have been designed to use minimal energy, providing years of maintenance-free service while providing a healthier home environment.

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John Gillis
Tamarack Technologies Inc. & Meridian Communications
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David LaPollo
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