If you have a balanced ventilation system in your home, you’re a step ahead of most homeowners. The best-known balanced ventilation systems are Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs). They provide a constant exchange of indoor and outdoor air, and prevent air pressure differentials between inside and outside that can impair indoor air quality and impact home comfort. If you have one of these systems, troubleshooting ERV and HRV problems may be necessary from time to time.
How Do ERVs and HRVs Work?
These balanced ventilation systems feature two parallel airstreams, incoming and outflowing. During this process, the two airstreams exchange heat (using the HRV) or both heat and moisture (using the ERV).
During the winter, some of the heat in the outflowing warm air will transfer to the incoming cold air. This gives your heating system a break from having to fully heat the inflowing air.
In the summer, the system will transfer some of the heat in inflowing warm air to the air that’s leaving the house, giving your A/C a break.
Since the ERV also transfers some of the moisture in the air from airstream to airstream, it can help with humidity control, though this depends on the season and climate in your area.
- Make sure the system is getting power, both by checking the power disconnect switch and the circuit breaker. See if any fuses have blown.
- Inspect air filters to make sure they aren’t dirty and impeding airflow. Look for blocked exhaust-air grilles and ductwork, too.
- Make sure an ERV is set for air exchange rather than defrost mode. If it’s relatively cold outside (under 23 degrees), some defrosting may be necessary, though it shouldn’t last longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
- An HRV can run into problems if the condensate drain gets clogged. Check the drain tube for blockages. The drain line should be slightly sloped with no kinks.
Troubleshooting ERV and HRV problems can only take you so far. At some point you’ll need professional help. Contact us at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors for help with your Monmouth County home’s ventilation system.
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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