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Do You Need An Energy Recovery Home Ventilation System?

Reduce heating and cooling costs while improving IAQ in your home with an energy recovery ventilation system, AKA an ERV or HRV.

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energy recovery ventilation

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Your home’s HVAC system is forced to work harder when the difference between the temperature outside and inside is more extreme. As a result, you might notice increased energy or utility costs during certain seasons. (After all, it’s heavily dependent on climate!) This is due to the fact that your home’s HVAC system is not equipped to recover energy while heating and cooling your home. That’s where energy recovery ventilation comes in. Investing in a home energy recovery ventilation system will …

  • Create a comfortable indoor atmosphere
  • Notably reduce your utility bill
  • Assist your home’s HVAC unit during the heating and cooling processes

Energy recovery ventilation is a type of balanced whole-home mechanical ventilation. Balanced ventilation provides fresh outside air, improves overall indoor air quality and is one of the best healthy home upgrades available on the market today.

Why Choose Energy Recovery Ventilation?

An energy-recovery system preconditions the fresh incoming air to match your home’s indoor air temperature by recovering energy from the outgoing stale air.

Translation: the heating and cooling process is actually quite energy-wasteful. With energy recovery ventilation, a heat exchanger transfers energy from the outgoing air to the incoming air so the fresh incoming air temperature matches the exhaust temperature. It quite literally recovers energy in an otherwise wasteful process. By doing so, your home’s HVAC system does not have to work as hard to cool or heat the new air.

A mechanical ventilation system is installed directly into your home’s HVAC unit, either sharing the existing HVAC ductwork or via independent ductwork. There are two types of balanced whole-home energy recovery ventilation systems! Let’s take a look at both and find out which one is best for your home.

Mechanical Ventilation: An important note considering the potentially confusing names! Both ERVs and HRVs are energy recovery systems. Despite differences in the energy recovery and heat transfer processes, ERVs and HRVs both recover energy. The fact that one system shares the name of energy recovery ventilation is just one of those unhelpful industry things. Check out our comparison guide for a more in-depth breakdown of the two systems.

Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERVs)

Typically equipped with two fans and a heat exchanger, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) minimizes energy loss while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere throughout your home. The fans collect fresh air from outdoors and bring it indoors. Simultaneously, it is collecting stale air from inside and forcing it out. The heat exchanger transfers moisture and heat from the outgoing airstream to the incoming airstream.

Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRVs)

A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) also utilizes fans and a heat exchanger to recover energy and maintain a comfortable atmosphere. However, the heat exchanger solely transfers sensible heat from the outgoing airstream to the incoming. This is the main difference between an ERV and an HRV.

How Is Balanced Mechanical Ventilation Energy-Efficient?

While the efficiency of ventilation may be influenced by environmental factors, energy recovery ventilation typically recovers 70 to 80% of the energy in outgoing air and transfers it to the incoming air. This is particularly beneficial for newly constructed and recently renovated homes or buildings built to be as airtight as possible in the name of energy efficiency. Despite the understandable goal, airtight construction poses a risk to home occupants as airtightness constricts ventilation and traps contaminants indoors. Energy recovery ventilation systems are ideal because they balance both issues.

Do You Need Energy Recovery Ventilation?

When the weather outside becomes hot and humid, or cold and dry, most homeowners would like to maintain a comfortable atmosphere indoors without breaking the bank. If you answer yes to at least one of the following categories, then you should invest in energy recovery ventilation.

Are You Looking To Reduce…Are You Looking To Increase…
Home repairsIncoming fresh air
Unregulated indoor humidity levelsComfortability
Allergens, pollutants and air toxinsHome energy-efficiency

An energy recovery system ensures proper ventilation which reduces the strain on your home’s HVAC system. It removes moisture buildup which protects the structural integrity of your home and prevents the spread of biological contaminants. And, it removes allergens and toxins during air exchanges for easier breathing. These benefits will keep you and your family comfortable and healthy while dramatically decreasing the cost of your utility bills.

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Indoor air quality matters. Indoor air quality control solutions work. That’s why we are IAQ.Works. We are the homeowner’s advocate. Our goal is to help you create a healthier indoor space through education, awareness and action. We support clean air for all and we know it’s possible for every single indoor space. Join us on Twitter!

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