How to Cross Ventilate Your Home

Updated on December 4, 2017
Cre8tor profile image

Dan has been in the HVAC industry for 22 years with experience ranging from installation and service to sales and distribution.

Freshen Up Your Home and Save Money With Cross Ventilation
Freshen Up Your Home and Save Money With Cross Ventilation

What Is Cross Ventilation?

Cross ventilation is a natural or planned process where cold air displaces warmer air in a given structure. You can use this practice to save you money on utilities and breathe clean air — all without costing you a dime.

The principle of cross ventilation uses the relationship between heat and cold. Heat leaves an object or area to try raising the temperature of the cooler surrounding areas. When it moves, however, the last object/place is left with less heat. If the temperature outside is less than that inside your home, cross ventilation will be a breeze to do!

Two great ways to practice cross ventilation are:

  1. Opening windows opposite each other in a building
  2. Using a fan to direct the air

I'll go into more details of each method below, but you can already see that the process doesn't require special equipment or significant investment.

An opening of this size can bring in a huge amount of fresh air or remove a large amount of heat, especially when an opening is located opposite the first window.
An opening of this size can bring in a huge amount of fresh air or remove a large amount of heat, especially when an opening is located opposite the first window. | Source

How to Cross Ventilate Naturally With Windows

The easiest way to cross ventilate naturally is to open the windows. It really is that simple. Ideally, you should open a few windows that are across from each other. Don't worry if this set up isn't possible in your home. The air will find a way to the open areas even if windows are situated at 90 degrees from the inlet window. Just make sure the open windows/doors aren't all located on the same side of the home. The best method is having a breeze enter one window and exit directly from another one placed opposite the first.

Note: The amount of air moved is directly proportionate to the size of your inlet and outlet openings.

Use a fan to help cross ventilate the home!
Use a fan to help cross ventilate the home!

Use Fans to Help With Cross Ventilation

When you don't have a nice cool breeze handy, you can use a fan or two to get the air moving in the right direction.

It may surprise you to know that the most efficient way to ventilate a room is to face the fan out of a window rather than into the house. This method draws cooler air in at the inlet opening and creates a better vacuum to better pull warm, dusty air out.

NOTE: Many ceiling fans have a switch to reverse directions. Cooler air is pulled up from the lower portion of the room and thrown out at a higher point to fall back over the area. Use this feature to mix your air and have a more comfortable, even temperature throughout a given area.

Why Is Cross Ventilation Important?

We may not want to admit that the air in our home is usually more polluted than the air outside. Cross ventilation pushes warm air out, and with it, dust and pollutants.

You can save money on utility bills with this method in the early morning and evening hours. The air is usually cooler during these times, so air conditioning units don't need to be run as often. If you're not sure what to do, try setting the thermostat to cool. If your air conditioner kicks on when the windows are open, that means it's cooler inside and it's time to close up. If it doesn't start, that means you're saving money! The air conditioning won't come on unless it needs to, so don't worry about turning it off when the doors are open. This also helps when you run errands and don't want the heat to greet you when you return.

Helpful Tips for Cross Ventilation

Being Efficiently Efficient

Do you use cross ventilation to help cool and freshen up your home?

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Welcome to the Clean Air and Lower Utility Bills Club!

I know the concept of cross ventilation seems simple, but I see homes closed up all day during the summer and want to tell people how beneficial a cross breeze can be when we catch a pleasant day.

Welcome to the fresh-air club! There's plenty to go around and best of all, it's free!

Questions & Answers

  • During winter, I have too much moisture inside my windows. What can I do to better cross ventilate?

    If you have a humidifier, turn it down a little at a time till the moisture goes away. If not, I hate to say but you need new windows. It's because the heat inside and cold out is causing this and new windows are the only answer.

  • How do you judge outdoor wind direction?

    I usually rely on weather reports that generally relay from which direction the wind would come from on a given day.

Comments

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 

      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I love being a member of the clean air and lower utilities bill club!

      Thanks so much for all your tips. Your hubs have proven to be quite helpful.

      Voted up and useful!

      Margie

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Well, thanks to my VERY leaky windows, I have GREAT cross-ventilation in my apartment! It's less than ideal in the winter, but at least I can feel good about internal air pollution ;)

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      In the words of the late Bob Marley - "Stir It Up". Air begins to displace itself as soon as it stops moving. The ceiling fan is a great way to keep the room temperature even. Thanks for reading summerberrie!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 

      6 years ago

      cre8tor, I am the worst when it comes to changing my air filters. I will do better-your hub has inspired me to think more responsibly. I never thought about the inside air being more polluted than the outside air! Also,I forgot about the reverse ceiling fan trick. Thanks for the information.

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