Exploring New Home Construction

Should My Home Have An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) Or Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)?

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to restore fresh air into your home, or transfer stale air out of your home and replace it with fresh air, you may want to look into having an air conditioning contractor install either an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) or a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).

Both are solid ways to restore fresh air or stabilize the climate inside of your home. However, which one is right for you? This brief article will attempt to answer that question for you by telling you just what ERVs and HRVs are, describing how ERVs work, describing how HRVs work and finally, discussing which one is right for your specific home.

What Are ERVs and HRVs?

Heat Recovery Ventilators are a devices that take stale indoor air that has been exhausted inward in order to temper the air that is being introduced into the ventilator. During warmer seasons, heat is retained, while in the cooler seasons, it is cooled down, acting as a sort of cooling agent for the home.

Energy Recovery Ventilators work a bit differently. They take moisture from air that is incoming into your house and essentially kick it out. While not a dehumidifier, it principally works the same except on a grander scale. Energy Recovery Ventilation systems need to be ducted, so this generally requires a house-wide install. The same goes for Heat Recovery Ventilation systems.

How Does An ERV Work?

Incoming air enters the ERV unit and goes through a heat exchanger. Likewise, stale indoor air is also routed to the heat exchanger before being pushed outdoors. This retains some of the energy of the air while getting rid of its static nature.

The stale indoor air is then forthrightly pushed outside. It is important to note here that the heat exchanger does not mix or combine the stale indoor air with air from outdoors. The heat exchanger has separate compartments for both. Fresh air is then brought into the home through the duct system, creating a constant flow of new fresh air into the home but retaining the heat of the static, stale air.

How Does An HRV Work?

Like an ERV, the first thing that happens in the HRV process is that incoming air is brought into the unit and pushed into a heat exchanger. The stale indoor air is brought into the HRV unit and passes through both a heat exchanger and moisture exchanger.

Depending on how humid you want your home to be, the moisture from the stale air is either extracted and deposited outside or is brought back into the home with the fresh air. The stale air exits outside. Like the ERV, it is important to note the fresh air and stale air never meet inside of the heat exchanger or moisture exchanger. Finally, the tempered air may be pushed back outside, or brought back into the home with the adjusted humidity level now processed.

Which One Is Right For My Home?

There are a variety of different answers to this question, and they all largely depend on what kind of home you have. If you have a small, well-insulated house residing in a cold climate, it is recommended that you choose an HRV. If you have a large house in a cold climate, especially one with only a few occupants, choose an ERV. In humid climates, ERVs are a bit less expensive to operate during the summer months. For a home residing in a mixed climate, either one will do.

Choosing between an HRV or an ERV doesn't have to be a hassle. With the tips and tricks you've garnered from this brief article, you should be on your way to making the right decision.