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What’s the Difference between HRV and ERV Systems?

LennoxOlder homes such as the kind you probably grew up in always had some amount of air leaking in and out of the house. While horribly inefficient, the need for ventilation wasn’t as apparent as it is today. Modern houses are constructed as airtight as possible so they will keep the hot air in during winter and the cold air during summer. While this increased efficiency saves money as well as stress on your HVAC, it requires you to have a mechanical ventilation system to provide your home with clean, healthy indoor air. The most advanced types of equipment designed to ventilate houses are HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) and ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilation). Here are some things you should know about HVAC installation in Decatur.

Older Mechanical Ventilation

The idea of mechanical ventilation has been around for a long time. For years, under-ventilated homes relied on exhaust fans for fresh air. It’s a simple concept: exhaust fans pull in fresh air through vent ducts and then push stale air outside. While this approach effectively supplies the home with fresh air, that air isn’t conditioned, so it places an unnecessary burden on your HVAC. Furthermore, if insufficient air is brought in, the depressurized home will have to rely on ambient air from other sources (such as the attic, chimney, or crawl space) to equalize the air pressure, resulting in dirty indoor air.

Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)

In order to solve this problem of drawing unconditioned air into the home, HRV systems use the heat from the exhaust air to preheat the incoming air. Located in the HRV ventilator core, the old stale air passes by the incoming air in a separate channel (so the two never mix), thereby heating the new air and reducing energy costs. It’s worth noting that HRV systems require a fan to run non-stop. While the energy spent on the fan is far less than that gained by the system, the reliance on the fan makes it advisable to select a high-quality HRV brand to ensure that you have as energy-efficient a fan as possible.

Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV)

Similar to the HRV system, ERVs not only preheat the incoming air, but they also absorb some of the humidity as well. In a humid place like Decatur, by capturing the humidity from the outside air before it enters the house, your HVAC won’t have to work nearly as hard removing humidity from the surrounding air (an essential function of all air conditioners).

Which to Choose?

HVAC SystemHRV systems are perfectly acceptable in environments where humidity isn’t much of an issue. In Decatur, however, an ERV will save you much more in energy costs in both cold and hot weather. If you were to choose an HRV system, then it’s recommended that you install a dehumidifier as well. With an ERV, that extra step is no longer necessary as it does the dehumidifying all by itself.

When you’re ready to upgrade your home with a new ERV system, contact Cool Air Mechanical. We’re the experts in HVAC maintenance in Decatur, and we would love to set you up with the right energy recovery ventilation system to suit your needs. Give us a call at (770) 266-5247 today!

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