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Exhaust ventilation in attached garages improves residential indoor air quality

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 21:23 authored by Mallach, G, St-Jean, M, MacNeill, M, Aubin, D, Wallace, L, Shin, T, Van Ryswyk, K, Kulka, R, You, H, Fugler, D, Lavigne, E, Amanda WheelerAmanda Wheeler
Previous research has shown that indoor benzene levels in homes with attached garages are higher than homes without attached garages. Exhaust ventilation in attached garages is one possible intervention to reduce these concentrations. To evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention a randomized crossover study was conducted in 33 Ottawa homes in winter 2014. VOCs including BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes), nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and air exchange rates were measured over four 48-hour periods when a garage exhaust fan was turned on or off. A blower door test conducted in each garage was used to determine the required exhaust fan flow rate to provide a depressurization of 5Pa in each garage relative to the home. When corrected for ambient concentrations, the fan decreased geometric mean indoor benzene concentrations from 1.04 to 0.40 μg/m3 , or by 62% (p<0.05). The garage exhaust fan also significantly reduced outdoor-corrected geometric mean indoor concentrations of other pollutants, including toluene (53%), ethylbenzene (47%), m,p-xylene (45%), o-xylene (43%) and carbon monoxide (23%) (p<0.05) while having no impact on the home air exchange rate. This study provides evidence that mechanical exhaust ventilation in attached garages can reduce indoor concentrations of pollutants originating from within attached garages.


Publication title

Indoor Air: International Journal of Indoor Air Quality and Climate








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2016 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified

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