Homeowners appreciate having plenty of fresh air indoors, but throwing open the windows in the middle of winter is impractical in the Cleveland area. Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) offer a way to ventilate your home with clean outdoor air -- without sending utility bills through the roof. As part of a balanced ventilation system, ERVs transfer the heat in the air being exhausted outdoors to the cold air that's being drawn in.
Many of today's well-insulated homes, while energy efficient, can be stuffy because they're so tightly sealed against air leaks. These houses are often ventilated in a hit-or-miss manner, through cracks, air leaks or drafts, as well as exhaust ventilation. Relying upon exhaust ventilation alone can create problems in the home, such as poor air quality and a higher risk of back-drafts.
Houses without whole-house ventilation systems may suffer from an excess of indoor air contaminants. ERVs and their cousins, heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), are a feature of whole-house ventilation systems that offer:
- Fresh air circulation without energy loss.
- Improved indoor air quality.
- Odor control.
- Ideal humidity levels, doing away with issues such as window condensation and reducing mold growth. (HRVs do a better job when humidity is a big issue.)
How do they do it? ERVs and HRVs push stale indoor air out of the house at a set rate. At the same time, they pull in an equal amount of fresh air from outdoors. These two streams of air travel past each another in the part of the system called the heat exchanger. There, heat energy is recovered from the outgoing stale air and transferred to the fresh air coming in. In cooling mode, the process is reversed; incoming air is cooled by transferring some of its heat to the outgoing air. The result: Your heating or cooling equipment catch a significant break, because the incoming air is that much closer to your ideal temperature.
For more information about heat or energy recovery ventilators, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We'd love the chance to answer your questions.
Photo Credit: dmertl