Ensure that ventilation controls are identified. For exhaust fans used as part of a whole-house mechanical ventilation system, if the identity of the switch controlling the ventilation fan isn’t obvious, then identify it in one of the following ways:
- Install a switch that is differentiated or labeled by the manufacturer.
- Install a permanent label indicating the function of the control.
See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.
Ventilation controls can sometimes look like ordinary light switches. For exhaust fans used as part of a whole-house mechanical ventilation system, the exhaust fan and other ventilation control switches should be permanently labeled as such, unless their function is obvious or they are labeled by the manufacturer; i.e., a label is required for a stand-alone wall switch, but not for a switch that is on the ventilation equipment.
For more on exhaust fans controls, see Continuously Operating Ventilation and Exhaust Fans.
How to Label Ventilation Controls
- Clearly label the ventilation controls (exhaust fan switch) or install controllers that are clearly labeled by the manufacturer.
The HERS rater should inspect to ensure that ventilation controls are clearly labeled, unless their function is obvious (for example, a bathroom exhaust fan).
No climate-specific information applies.
The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.
ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, Version 3/3.1 (Rev. 11)
Rater Field Checklist
7. Dwelling Unit Mechanical Ventilation Systems (“Vent System”) 45 & Inlets In Return Duct 46
7.2 A readily-accessible ventilation override control installed and also labeled if its function is not obvious (e.g., a label is required for a toggle wall switch, but not for a switch that’s on the ventilation equipment).48
Footnote 45) As defined by ANSI / RESNET / ICC Std. 301-2019, a Dwelling Unit Mechanical Ventilation System is a ventilation system consisting of powered ventilation equipment such as motor-driven fans and blowers and related mechanical components such as ducts, inlets, dampers, filters and associated control devices that provides dwelling-unit ventilation at a known or measured airflow rate.
Footnote 46) Item 7.3 applies to any outdoor air inlet connected to a ducted return of the dwelling unit HVAC system, regardless of its intended purpose (e.g., for ventilation air, make-up air, combustion air). This Item does not apply to HVAC systems without a ducted return.
Footnote 48) For an attached dwelling unit, excluding units in dwellings (i.e., duplex) and townhomes, the override control is not required to be readily accessible to the occupant. However, in such cases, EPA recommends but does not require that the control be readily accessible to others (e.g., building maintenance staff) in lieu of the occupant.
Please see the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes Implementation Timeline for the program version and revision currently applicable in in your state.
DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Revision 07)
Exhibit 1 Mandatory Requirements.
Exhibit 1, Item 1) Certified under the ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Program or the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program.
If any exhaust fans currently exhaust into the attic, crawlspace, between floors, or into any other part of the home, replace the duct with one that exhausts to the outside. If the project will involve working in the attic, see the assessment guide, Pre-Retrofit Assessment of Attics, Ceilings, and Roofs.
For more on exhaust fan ventilation, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s Standard Work Specifications.
See the Scope tab for additional job specifications.
If the home currently has no whole-house ventilation system, such as a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), energy recovery ventilator (ERV), or fresh air intake ducted to the central air handler fan, then code-required ventilation can be provided with exhaust fans that are set to run either continuously or for timered intervals. The switch for a new or existing fan should be clearly identified, as described in the Description tab.
Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.
ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2016 - Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings
The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.
HVAC Controls/Programmable Thermostat = Advanced Comfort Control Technology
Homeowners with advanced comfort control technology are able to save energy and money by scheduling their comfort systems to cooler or warmer temperatures during winter and summer respectively when it won’t compromise comfort. This includes times of the day when nobody is home or at night when people are asleep. Newer “smart” thermostats have the ability to learn residents’ preferences and can be controlled from smart phones.