Obvious Ventilation Controls

Scope Images
Function of ventilation controls is obvious (e.g., bathroom exhaust fan) or, if not, controls have been labeled
Function of ventilation controls is obvious (e.g., bathroom exhaust fan) or, if not, controls have been labeled
Scope

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 Certified Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

Description

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

  1. Clearly label the ventilation controls (exhaust fan switch) or install controllers that are clearly labeled by the manufacturer.
Ventilation control clearly labeled by installer
Figure 1 - The ventilation control is clearly labeled by the installer (Source: CalcsPlus). 
Figure 2. The ventilation control is clearly indicated by the manufacturer
Figure 2 - The ventilation controller is next to the thermostat and has a manual override button (Source: CalcsPlus). 

 

Ensuring Success

The HERS rater should inspect to ensure that ventilation controls are clearly labeled, unless their function is obvious (for example, a bathroom exhaust fan).

Climate

No climate-specific information applies.

CAD

Compliance

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 Certified Homes, Version 3/3.1 (Rev. 09)

Rater Field Checklist

7. Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation System
​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 standalone wall switch, but not for a switch that’s on the ventilation equipment).43

Footnote 43) In a multi-family dwelling unit, 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 Certified 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.

This Retrofit tab provides information that helps installers apply this “new home” guide to improvement projects for existing homes. This tab is organized with headings that mirror the new home tabs, such as “Scope,” “Description,” “Success,” etc. If there is no retrofit-specific information for a section, that heading is not included.

Existing Homes

SCOPE

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.

DESCRIPTION

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.

More Info.

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.

References and Resources*
*For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
Contributors to this Guide

The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

Building Science Measures
Building Science-to-Sales Translator

HVAC Controls/Programmable Thermostat = Advanced Comfort Control Technology

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Technical Description

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.

Advanced Comfort Control Technology
Sales Message

Advanced comfort control technology allows heating and cooling equipment operation to be set and scheduled for each home. What this means to you is optimum control and efficiency from your comfort system. Wouldn’t you agree advanced control technology should be included in all new homes?

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