What is an Energy Recovery Ventilator?
An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) helps you improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) and humidity levels in your home. It’s an appliance that works independent of, or with, your HVAC system to provide balanced ventilation without increasing energy costs when cooling or heating.
What an ERV Does
A tight home offers substantial energy efficiency, but often it’s at the expense of IAQ. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in products you use daily and natural humidity levels, both indoors and out, drive down air quality. An ERV removes stale, polluted indoor air and replaces it with the same amount of fresh outside air.
They’re so energy efficient because they extract the energy from the outgoing air and transfer up to 70 percent of it to the incoming air. ERVs often use desiccant materials to remove water vapor that they exhaust through an outgoing exhaust vent.
HVAC contractors can install these systems to work with your central cooling and heating system to circulate the fresh air through the ductwork for your whole home. Humidity removal in the summer is especially beneficial because your cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard when the air is drier. Since the ERV cools the air before it goes through the air handler, it saves even more energy because there’s less heat that the system has to remove.
An energy recovery ventilator can also operate independent of the HVAC system and freshen air in one particular area that has poor air quality, like kitchens, basements, or even garages.
ERVs have timers and don’t need to operate continuously, unless your home has serious problems with IAQ. Some units have air filters that remove particulates from the incoming air, which is helpful for allergy sufferers.
The balanced ventilation that an energy recovery ventilator provides is a cost-effective way to improve IAQ and your comfort simultaneously.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland learn more about home energy issues, especially those related to plumbing and HVAC, to live in more comfortable and energy efficient homes.