Venting Appliances in a Passive House

The building envelope's integrity is everything in a passive house. Learn how we vent clothes dryers, range hoods, and bathroom extraction fans.

The building envelope’s integrity is everything in a passive house. Learn how we vent clothes dryers, range hoods, and bathroom extraction fans.

Energy efficient home appliances

We’ve written before on selecting energy efficient appliances, particularly for homeowners already going passive / net zero, and wanting to apply the principles of sustainability throughout the home.

Be sure to check out the appliance guide we created in Energy efficient appliances for your passive home.

In this post, we want to concentrate on the commonly used household appliances that require venting, particularly to deal with moisture laden air: your clothes dryer, your cooktop or range hood, and bathroom extraction fans.

It makes no sense to cut six-inch holes in your home’s wall system to vent theses appliances outside. This would compromise the integrity of the passive wall system, weakening its effectiveness hugely. And there is no need to go this route. Find out more by reading on.

Non-vented or ventless appliances

It’s become pretty easy to source energy efficient appliances which are also non-venting or ventless.

When it comes to selecting a range or cooktop hood, you need to find one with a recirculating vent with efficient charcoal or clean air filters.

A ventless cooktop hood removes the need for ductwork and external ventilation, reducing energy consumption overall.

Recirculation technology combined with regularly changed filters will ensure that are cooking odors are dealt with and moist air evaporates to be handled by the home’s ERV or fresh air system. We include recommendations of models to choose and other considerations in our appliance guide, noted above.

An up close picture of the range hood used in EkoBuilt's model passive home.
The hood vent in our model passive home, which is also Net Zero.

Extraction for dryers and bathrooms

Whereas the cooktop hood ventless approach leads to indirect diversion of moist air through the home’s ERV or fresh air system, in the case of clothing dryers and bathroom extractor fans, the moisture is diverted directly through the home’s ERV (energy recovery ventilator).

In both cases, ventless versions of these appliances will deal with moist air by allowing it to condense and drain through the home’s existing plumbing.

Choosing a heat pump dryer that is ventless, will also mean that you’re choosing a model which recirculates hot air back into the drum, conserving energy in the process. This is a superior choice for your home on multiple fronts.

A picture of the laundry room in our model passive home.

Finding the best ventless options

There is simply no need for drafty holes your home’s exterior walls (which can also be susceptible to rodents and other critters finding their way in) in a home that’s already designed to keep the home’s humidity in balance.

Again, we’ll direct you back to our energy efficient appliance guide to help you in selecting the best ventless options.

If you’re ready for a conversation about building the most energy efficient home you can, we’d love to hear from you. We ship our pre-certified passive house kit across Canada and the US.

An image of a laundry basket full of clothes.

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