Nowadays, spaces are sealed airtight for efficiency. Though this prevents air from leaking in and out of your home, it causes another issue—poor air recirculation. So, how does one choose between savings and fresh indoor air?
Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), however, have advanced to not only provide consistent, measured fresh air, but with the ability to capture and reclaim much of the energy before it leaves the building. In doing so, ERVs and HRVs have the potential to provide the necessary ventilation while reducing a building’s heating and cooling loads.
ERVs’ and HRVs’ variable functionality allows for control of this air change rate, with the ability to increase this rate as occupancy increases. In addition, filters may be upgraded to increase its MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. The higher the MERV value, the better its ability to remove particulates, including pathogens.
HRVs send stale air out of your home, while bringing fresh air inside. During this process, they recover energy from the air that is being expelled. Therefore, HRVs are the energy-efficient solution for removing harmful pollutants from your home and improving your indoor air quality.
Keep in mind, with dividing walls that are sealed against humidity, HRV systems are best fit for homes that experience high humidity levels in the winter.
ERVs do more than eliminate harmful contaminants from your space and bring fresh air inside. They help you attain a well-balanced humidity level, too. Because of this, they’re the ideal system for homes that struggle with the inconvenience of varying humidity extremes from season to season.
In the summer, humidity levels are high. Well, an ERV’s walls contain a special material (known as a desiccant) that is able to absorb humidity. This gives your air conditioner the little bit of extra help it needs to remove excess moisture from your home’s air. As a result, your cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard, your energy bills drop and your comfort skyrockets.
In the winter, dry air takes over your home. Well, when an ERV detects dry air, it pumps in moisture before returning the air to your home. This leads to a better-balanced humidity level. Plus, since dry air makes your space feel colder than it actually is, the moisture an ERV adds will foster a difference in comfort you can feel.
Because of their similarity, it can be tricky to choose between an HRV system and an ERV system. To help you decide, we highlighted some key factors to consider.
Number of People in your house – Larger, active families tend to generate more humidity. An HRV is a better fit for them. Smaller families tend to create less humidity, resulting in drier air. For them, the ERV, which can add moisture to the air, is a better fit.
Dimensions of your house – HRV units are best suited for small or medium-sized homes, where humidity can quickly accumulate. ERV units better serve larger spaces, where air tends to be drier.
Airtightness of the building – The tighter the space, the more humidity it retains. For extremely airtight spaces, an HRV is the best choice.
Type of heating system – Heating systems heavily influence a space’s humidity level. So, if you reside in a wood-heated environment, then your air is likely to be dry. Luckily, an ERV can add moisture to your home’s air, which will assist in promoting a healthier humidity level.
An ERV or HRV system must be installed flawlessly. That’s because these systems only work effectively if they’re perfectly calibrated. This is important for keeping incoming and outgoing airflow balanced.
With House Depot’s professional HVAC team, you can breathe easy knowing that your ERV or HRV installation will be completed properly—the first time around. To get started, feel free to contact us today