If you’ve taken steps to tighten up your home by air sealing and insulating, you’ll need to add mechanical ventilation to maintain good air quality. There are several types of whole-house ventilation systems available, but most just replace your conditioned air with outdoor air, which wastes your energy dollars. That’s not the case with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). An HRV draws in a controlled amount of fresh outdoor air and expels stale, moisture-laden indoor air, but it’s also able to reclaim heat energy from the exchanged air.
Heat Recovery Ventilator Basics
An HRV unit is typically placed in the attic, with separate supply and return ducts equipped with adjustable-speed fans installed to facilitate air exchange. The key component that sets an HRV apart from other ventilation systems is a built-in heat exchanger that draws out up to 85 percent of the heat energy present in the air. Because an HRV pre-conditions the air, it reduces the workload on your HVAC equipment, and the energy that saves can help offset the cost of running the ventilation system.
To help you decide whether you’d benefit from a heat recovery ventilator, here’s a brief overview of how it works:
- A fan on the return duct side draws stale air from humidity-prone areas of your home, such as the kitchen, bath and laundry rooms, and expels it outdoors.
- A supply side fan pulls in cleaner air from outdoors for distribution throughout your home.
- Both sets of ducts are routed through the unit’s heat exchanger core, but the incoming and outgoing air don’t mix.
- As air passes through the ventilator unit, the core captures as much of its heat energy as possible and transfers it to the air flowing in the opposite direction. In the winter, this helps warm the cold outdoor air that’s drawn in. In the summer, you can adjust the control settings so that heat energy from the incoming air is transferred to the stale air that’s being expelled.
To learn more about how a heat recovery ventilator works, contact the Monmouth County home comfort pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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