• Home Envelope
  • Heating and Cooling

Maintenance Matters - HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation)

By The Foreman Household

So, when we first bought our house, we knew that there was an air-to-air unit and ductwork installed that was no longer functioning.  It has been on our To Do list for many years to have it fixed, but we have yet to make it a priority…until NOW!

Where has this home envelope challenge been all our lives?!  WOW!  While we are feverishly working to seal our home to ensure it is airtight to minimize energy consumption and loss, we have been reminded that to also have a healthy home, we need to cycle clean fresh outdoor air and exhaust our polluted stale indoor air to keep us healthy too!  But airtight homes need fresh air circulation too, so without a leaky home envelope, how do we get the air moving?

An air-to-air exchanger or Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) is a unit that exchanges stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air, all the while recovering most of the heat/cool temperature of the indoor air.  It is important however before installing a mechanical ventilation unit that you ditch your drafts (aka air sealing!) FIRST to decrease any air (and money!) leaking out!

Why is this important to health?  Well contaminants in the house that are air sealed in can make you sick and cause allergies and asthma to worsen! HRV’s also contain a filter to help lower indoor levels of pollen and some pollutants  A win-win for all of us, especially the asthmatic in our house!

The other win is the cost savings!  Not only is air sealing awesome for energy efficiency and reducing costs, but an HRV can recover up to 50-90% of the heat which in turn reduces cost.  The more efficient the unit, the better the heat recovery.  An Energy Star Certified HRV is designed to use less energy and have higher efficiency.  Less energy and more heat recovery reduces energy bills further and saves you even more money!

Speaking of costs…it’s affordable!  Really!  We were quoted for a new motor at around $700 but we do want a newer more efficient unit, in which the quote came in at $1700.  Small costs really for a large return. 

And the savings for our health…Priceless!


Written by The Foreman Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

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