The Basics of Heat Recovery Ventilation

Heat recovery ventilation is a waste heat recovery system which uses equipment such as ventilators, air exchangers, or air to air exchangers that employ a counter flow exchanger between the inbound and outbound air flow. These systems provide fresh air and superior climate control while saving a bit of energy and reducing expenses in the process.

As advancements are made in weather-stripping and insulation, structures are constantly being made more air tight, and as a result, less ventilated. Due to the fact that all buildings require a fresh air source, the need for HRV systems has become obvious. While a simple act, such as opening a window, does technically provide a source of ventilation, the structures climate will be ultimately be determined by the exterior weather. In the middle of summer or winter… this can be cause for alarm in some locations. HRV technology offers a wonderful solution: fresh air, energy efficiency, and better climate control. 

An HRV can be a stand-alone device, which operates independently, built in, or one that is added to existing HVAC systems. In cases involving smaller buildings where each room has an exterior wall, this device can be made smaller, providing ventilation for a solitary room. Larger structures may require additional smaller units, or even a large central one. The only requirement is an air supply. 

Why Ventilate?

Life inside a home can easily generate both pollutants and moisture alike. This is due to cooking, washing, breathing, and showers. At higher levels, condensed moisture can be found on windows and cause deterioration of the structure. These moist areas are also breeding grounds for mold, dust mites, mildew, bacteria, and fungi. The unsightly spots caused by this growth are a clear sign of a problem. In addition, spores and dust can easily become airborne and move freely throughout the home, causing an increased risk of allergies and illness’. 

Heat Retaining

Although HRV are very effective at ventilating during the summer months, the devices are most popular during the wintertime. A typical residential unit might use as much as 200 cfm of air, however the fan speed can be adjusted to suit the air quality in any home. 

HRVs are ideal solutions for tight, moisture prone houses due to the fact that they replace the humid air with dry, fresh air. In areas with high amounts of excess humidity, an energy-recovery ventilator is more suitable as it acts as a dehumidifier for the incoming air stream.

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