Understand the Basics of a Heat Recovery Ventilator

Understand the Basics of a Heat Recovery VentilatorA heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is the ultimate answer to today’s energy-efficient — yet poorly ventilated — house. The same airtight construction that conserves heating and cooling can make your home a reservoir of stale indoor air quality and accumulated airborne contaminants and fumes. However, conventional one-way intake or exhaust ventilation methods have downsides. Intake-only ventilation fans induct large volumes of unconditioned outdoor air, driving up heating costs in winter and cooling in summer. Exhaust fans, meanwhile, can disrupt the neutral air balance inside the home that is critical to efficiency and comfort.

Heat recovery ventilators intake filtered, fresh outdoor air while exhausting an equal volume of stale indoor air. What’s more, they do so while minimizing heat loss in winter and heat gain during summer. Here are the basics of a typical system:

  • An HRV connects small-bore dedicated ductwork installed in your home to a central controller. This ductwork removes stale air from the kitchen, utility room and bathrooms while adding fresh air ventilation to bedrooms and family rooms. Separate intake and exhaust fans incorporated in the controller ensure that equal volumes of air are brought into the house and exhausted out of the house, maintaining neutral air balance indoors at all times.
  • The heat recovery ventilator also incorporates an efficient heat exchanger inside the controller. Situated between the intake and exhaust air streams, the heat exchanger extracts about 70 percent of heat energy from the warmer stream and adds it to the cooler stream. In winter, heat on its way out of the house in the exhaust stream is extracted and transferred to the cold, incoming airstream to pre-warm it. This minimizes the impact on indoor temperatures and heating costs. In summer, heat from incoming fresh air is extracted and moved to the exhaust stream to avoid burdening your air conditioner.
  • Standard heat recovery ventilators typically use about 100 watts of electricity. However, new high-efficiency units that utilize ECM (electronically-commutated motor) fans “sip” electrical power, consuming only about 45 watts.

For more about the benefits of energy-efficient ventilation with a heat recovery ventilator, in Cleveland contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about heat recovery ventilation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “iQoncept/Shutterstock”