Even though pollution levels are up to five times higher indoors than outside, people hesitate to ventilate their homes because ventilation systems can be so noisy. That's why there's acoustic ventilation, which brings in fresh air and removes pollutants without causing excess noise.
When designing an acoustic ventilation system, first determine how much air your house requires. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers standard, ventilation should provide 15cfm (15 cubic feet or 0.425 cubic meters) per minute or 0.35 ACH per person that lives in your home. That means 15 cubic feet (0.425 cubic meters) of air are circulated through your house every minute. A 0.35 ACH ventilation rate means that 35 percent of the air is being replaced with fresh air every hour [source: Bower].
The most effective home ventilation is a central system with local exhaust fans for the bathroom and kitchen. Buy quiet fans and place them away from the rooms they're ventilating, for example in the attic. You'll need two fans in the central system: one for the air supply and one for the exhaust. Make sure intake grilles are lined and have sound dampers or attenuators [source: Building Services and Environmental Engineering]. Keep fans away from main living areas.
The air will travel through your home via lined ducts and enter rooms through supply grilles mounted in the ceilings [source: MBS]. Use exhaust vents in rooms with excess moisture or pollutants, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Acoustic ventilation systems are quite affordable, costing only about $1,000. Even once you add the cost of installing supply vents, intake grilles and lined ducts, it should still run you less than $3,000 [source: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority]. Keep the system running smoothly and save yourself maintenance and repair costs by cleaning intake grilles and fan blades twice a year.