How An ERV Or HRV Ventilation System Can Help You Breathe Easy When Your Home’s Shut Tight

Posted On: February 02, 2012

Your home’s indoor air quality, as well as moisture control, relies on its ventilation. If you don’t have a mechanical ventilation system, such as an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or heat recovery ventilator (HRV), natural ventilation and air infiltration are generally not enough to keep the air in your home clean and moisture-free.

The HRV and the ERV use a similar design. Here’s how they work:

  • A fan is installed in the incoming duct, which draws fresh air into the home.
  • At the same time, another fan is pulling air from inside the home, and exhausting it via the outgoing duct.
  • These two streams of air move through the ventilation system, but they never meet, ensuring that pollutants never pass from the outgoing air to the incoming air.
  • At the core of the ERV and HRV is the heat exchanger. In the winter, when heated air is on its way out of the system, that energy is transferred to the incoming stream of air. So, the system uses that warm air to pre-heat incoming air. In the summer, the system reverses this mode, transferring the energy from cooled air to the incoming air supply.

This transferring process is the genius of ERVs and HRVs, as they can recoup about 80 percent of the energy in the existing air, reducing the cost to operate the system itself.

The difference between an HRV and an ERV? ERVs are specifically designed to handle moisture, effectively reducing humidity levels within the home during the exchange process.

You can use ventilation systems in homes that have existing ductwork or don’t have ductwork at all. For homes that already have ductwork, the HRV and ERV use those ducts to deliver and exhaust air. If your home doesn’t have ductwork, a ventilation system can be installed with a separate ductwork system, which will increase the overall cost of the system, however.

Interested in evaluating a ventilation system for your home? The experts at Ernst Heating & Cooling are happy to help. Give us a call today — we’ve been helping homeowners in the Maryville area maintain indoor air quality and ensure efficiency since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ventilation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Ernst Heating & Cooling services Hamel, Illinois and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!     

Ventilation image via Shutterstock

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