Balanced mechanical ventilation systems are sold with the intent to improve indoor air quality. However, they are often marketed with the added bonus of reducing the cost of utilities. Is this true? How can whole-house ventilation save money? And should homeowners consider the potential cost savings when purchasing a mechanical ventilation system?
A lot of mechanical ventilation systems are energy-efficient. Manufacturers argue that this saves homeowners a bundle on their utility bills in the long run. Let’s find out whether or not that’s true.
What Is the Most Effective Home Ventilation System?
As opposed to natural ventilation which relies on open windows and doors for circulation, mechanical ventilation relies on fans and ducts. A balanced mechanical ventilation system is optimal as an equal amount of air is exchanged at all times. A whole-home mechanical ventilation system provides fresh air circulation throughout the entire house.
Energy recovery style systems include energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat recovery ventilators (HRVs). These systems precondition incoming air with the energy transferred from the outgoing air. By doing so, the heating and cooling process becomes less wasteful because it minimizes energy loss. It also reduces the pressure placed on your HVAC system.
Mechanical Ventilation Improves IAQ
Mechanical ventilation systems are equipped with high-efficiency air filters that remove viruses, bacteria, dust, dander, pollen, mold spores and various other pollutants. And it does so before circulating the new fresh air throughout the indoor space. Extra filtration and increased ventilation are powerful when used in conjunction. Additionally, mechanical ventilation systems can help with indoor humidity control, considering indoor moisture levels also depend on air circulation.
Does Whole-House Ventilation Save Money?
The short answer? Yes! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ERVs and HRVs can recover 70 to 80% of the energy in outgoing air and transfer it to incoming air. This energy recovery process can save homeowners an incredible amount of money, particularly during the summer and winter seasons. How? Because of the extreme temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors during these months. In other words, preconditioning incoming air to match the indoor temperature is more impactful when the temperature difference is more extreme.
Additionally, balanced mechanical ventilation systems help reduce the strain put on your HVAC system to overcome poor circulation. Not only potentially minimizing typical AC and heating costs, but also circumventing the need for expensive system repairs.
The one way that a whole-home mechanical ventilation system can increase utility costs is by increasing electricity usage. After all, ERVs and HRVs are electrical devices that require a power source. Comparable to any plug-in device or appliance. This may be a factor to consider for homeowners living in mild climates. Because the ability to reduce heating and cooling costs and the long-term utility savings surpasses a minimal increase in electricity usage.
In the end, the overall savings potential from energy recovery ventilation far outweighs the product installation cost, electricity usage and maintenance needs for most homeowners.
Do You Need a Whole-House Ventilation System?
Without a doubt, balanced mechanical ventilation systems improve indoor air quality and save homeowners money. While it may take time to see a notable return on investment, energy recovery mechanical ventilation provides immediate satisfaction with regard to comfort, health and home quality.