Energy Recovery Ventilator vs Heat Recovery Ventilator – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

Energy Recovery Ventilator vs Heat Recovery Ventilator

Over the past decade, the prevailing philosophy in new home construction has been to ensure a “tight envelope.” In other words, sealing the home so tight that heating and cooling bills are minimized. While this is great in theory, the end result is not as simple as it seems.

A lack of ventilation can introduce health risks in the forms of radon, traces of carbon monoxide, off-gassing of building materials, as well as the normal results of life such as cooking odors. It can also make the situation more difficult for family members with allergies. So the question is, how can we have adequate ventilation while still keeping our energy bills low?

Certainly we can just open windows at certain times of the year, but that’s not a consistent solution. A better approach is to use an energy recovery ventilator or a heat recovery ventilator. Which one is right for your home?

The Energy Recovery Ventilator

The energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is generally recommended in areas that tend to rely on the air conditioner rather than the heater. This would include areas such as the South and the Midwest. Humidity in these areas tend to be higher and the ERV transfers not only air but also moisture. The air conditioner already works hard to lower the humidity inside the home so when the ERV helps shoulder that load it can help to extend the life of your HVAC system.

The Heat Recovery Ventilator

The heat recovery ventilator (HRV) by contrast is recommended in two situations.

First, in climates where the heater is the dominate appliance, such as on the Northeast coast.

Secondly, they are recommended for homes that have a very tight envelope. A HRV unit is also less expensive than an ERV since the core component of the unit is not designed to handle moisture.

At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.

Photo Credit: Dawn Endico via Compfight cc

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