Last Updated May 26, 2021
From heating to cooling to decorating and more, you do a lot to regulate the temperature and atmosphere of your home. While you may find it easy to light a candle to make the room smell nice or turn on a space heater to add some extra warmth, you’ll also want to pay attention to the air quality in your home.
Why care about the quality of air in your home?
Because you may spend a lot of time there, whether awake during the day or sleeping at night. In some cases, the air inside may be even dirtier and dustier than the air outside. Air quality plays a significant factor in your overall health and wellness, so it’s important to put the air you breathe in at home at a high priority.
And, even better, you can use a heat recovery ventilator in a way that keeps your home eco-friendly.
But what exactly is a heat recovery ventilator and why is it so important to keep your home both filled with quality air and eco-friendly? We’re here to help.
Here, we’ll share some of the key things you’ll want to know about choosing a heat recovery ventilator for your home. As you’re ready to get your own for your own home, we’ll also share some insights about installing your ventilator and getting the most out of the unit.
What is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?
When it comes to making your home efficient and effective in controlling air movement and temperature, there’s a lot you can do. One step you can take to improve the quality of your air is to use a heat recovery ventilator. These units are effective in moving air through the home to help reduce costs and improve the quality of air. Using the old stale air in the home, the unit heats up fresh air that’s brought in. Not only does this increase the temperature, but it also allows fresh, clean air to enter through.
Beyond bringing in helpful heat much needed in cold temperatures, the heat recovery ventilator also helps to reduce heating and cooling costs from your HVAC. Especially in cold winter climates, using this unit can help lower your heating costs to be more affordable.
How the Best Heat Recovery Ventilator Works
Often when you think of ventilation, you may think of a fan that circulates air through static vents that wastes the energy it takes to move that air. The heat recovery ventilator works differently.
A key feature of the heat recovery ventilator is the heat-exchange core. This feature works by moving heat from air that’s leaving into the incoming air. There’s a balance of incoming and outgoing air that overall helps to heat up the air you want and eliminate the old stale air that you don’t want to breathe in. Balanced ventilation uses two fans to get rid of the old and bring in the new.
The two air streams of incoming air and outgoing stale air aren’t mixed at all, which ensures that you have optimal air quality in your home. You can mount the unit on a wall or place it in a window depending on your space. You can also install a heat recovery ventilator that works alongside your other HVAC units to bring fresh air to the whole house.
Difference Between an HRV and ERV
When it comes to finding the right ventilation system for you, you may be choosing between a heat recovery ventilator and an energy recovery ventilator. Both of these units work similarly, but they may have unique features that can be more appealing for certain environments. They work in tandem with your current air conditioner or heater to help you control the temperature, but do so in slightly different ways. While a heat recovery ventilator works by heating up incoming air as it filters, an energy recovery ventilator goes an extra step in adding control to the humidity levels in your home. This because highly important when looking at your air conditioner usage during those hot and humid summer months. An energy recovery ventilator can help you save energy and make the air conditioner not have to work as hard.
Which One is Better: HRV or ERV?
When choosing which unit to install in your own home, keep in mind that just because one unit is great for one type of home doesn’t mean it’s always the best fit all around. The type of climate you find yourself in plays a major role in which unit better meets your energy and air quality needs. For example, an energy recovery ventilator can be particularly efficient in stabilizing humidity levels, whether in warm or cool environments. Pay attention to
Pros of a Heat Recovery Ventilator
When it comes to your health or your wallet, a heat recovery ventilator can be a major value-add for your home. As air is cycled through the ventilator, bringing the good air in and pushing the stale air out, it also removes a lot of pollutants in the air that can compromise your respiratory health. These two streams of air aren’t mixed, ensuring that the pollutants that are filtered out stay out.
With the filtering process of the ventilator, you can experience that fresh-air feeling without compromising your respiratory system. Especially if you have issues with allergies or live in an area with high pollution, this ventilator can help filter out those particles that can be a concern for your health.
Yet the heat recovery ventilator brings benefits beyond your health. Using a unit in your home also can help you to drastically reduce your overall energy bills. You’ll see an increased efficiency and lifespan of your current air conditioner and heater. As the ventilator takes advantage of the energy used in pushing air out, you won’t be wasting that precious energy and instead putting it to good use. And with that increased efficiency also come a longer lifespan of those units, so you won’t have to replace them as soon as you would without a ventilator.
Many heat recovery ventilators also come with different functions and features that you can adjust as needed. Depending on your space and home’s need, you’re sure to find a ventilator option that fits well with how you desire to filter and heat or cool your home’s air.
Will an HRV Help with Radon Gas Removal
Cons of a Heat Recovery Ventilator
As with many units and home add-ons, the heat recovery ventilator is an investment. They aren’t cheap and take some effort in installing or coordinating the installation with a company.
These ventilators also are not required for the home and are seen as a fairly recent innovation for the home’s heating and cooling systems. If you already live in a home and don’t have a heat recovery ventilator, you’ll need to have the proper foundation and outline of the home to ensure you can get fresh air to each room.
Maintaining a Heat Recovery Ventilator
As you install and operate your heat recovery ventilator, there are some important things you can do to make the most of your unit. Not only will taking care of your unit make it more efficient, it will also help to extend the lifespan of your ventilator so you can keep it running smoothly for years to come.
Are HRVs Effective?
When it comes to both your health and your wallet, a heat recovery ventilator can be highly effective and efficient at improving your air quality and reducing your energy costs. What’s important is getting the right ventilator for your unique environment. If you get a single-room ventilator for your entire house, chances are the airflow and ventilation won’t be as efficient as initial intended.
It also depends on your climate ad the process of your other heating and cooling systems. The ventilator is designed to work in tandem with your existing units, which affects is overall ability to filter and improve your overall air quality.
Cost of a Heat Recovery Ventilator
As with many things that improve the efficiency of your home or your overall health, it’s important to remember that the heat recovery ventilator is an investment. It costs something up front, but you’re able to see the benefits of the unit very quickly, both in your health and your wallet.
According to HomeTips.com, you can find a whole-house heat recovery ventilator for under $2,000. They can range between just $400 all the way up to $1,500. Keep in mind that these units for the whole house also require professional installation. Be sure to set aside $500-1000 for installation costs. This amount may vary based on the ductwork of your home and the amount of time and difficulty of the installation. For smaller spaces that don’t require a whole-house unit but a mounted unit instead won’t need to pay as much. These units are much more affordable, ranging between $350-450.
How to Choose a HRV or ERV System for Your Home
As you move forward in finding the right unit for your home, there are some important things to keep in mind. Here we share some key factors to remember that will influence what type of ventilation system your home and living spaces require.
Size of your home
One of the key features you’ll want to note as you choose your heat recovery ventilator or your energy recovery ventilator is the size of your space. Some units are designed just to control the air flow of one room. This can be a great option for apartments or smaller homes where you spend most of your time in one main location. These units also come in whole-home options that are much larger and work alongside your heating and cooling systems already installed.
The environment in which you live will play a major role in the type of ventilation system you secure. For more humid environments, an energy recovery ventilator may be more efficient for you in controlling those levels and working to support your air conditioner. However, in drier environments where humidity may not be as much of a concern, the heat recovery ventilator can be a better, more efficient option in heating or cooling your home.
As the unit you choose in an investment in your home and your health, it’s important to not skimp out on quality in your unit. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, doing so may hurt you in the long run. As you browse and talk to professionals, consider a balance between the price and the overall value it will bring to your home and your health.
Single-Room HRV vs. Whole-Home HRV
One of the key questions you’ll want to ask yourself in choosing the right heat recovery ventilator for you is whether a single-room or whole-home unit is right for you. A single room unit is one that is attached to the wall and is fairly restrictive in the space it covers in ventilating the air. It can be a great option for smaller spaces with one main room where you spend the most time.
However, in a traditional home setting, you may have family members in several rooms in the house. This is where a centralized whole-home heat recovery ventilator can be highly effective in bringing clean air that’s been heated or cooled into the entire house. While these units tend to be slightly more expensive and require a bit more in-depth installation process, they are best suited for homes that covers a lot of space.
How to Install an HRV Yourself
When you’re ready to install a heat recovery ventilator, it’s often best to connect with a professional about the right option for you. Talking to a professional can help you determine which unit and installation process is right for your home or living space. Typically, there are a few ways you can install a heat recovery ventilator. One way is with single-room ventilators. These can easily be attached to the wall, as your air conditioner may already be set up like. While it’s often best to connect with a professional, you may be able to install a unit by yourself. Be sure you are fully informed and aware of the installation process and you are confident in what you need to do to make it operate smoothly and not cause any electrical issues.
For whole-home heat recovery ventilators, it’s often suggested to connect with a professional to make the installation. Particularly in the whole-home model’s relationship to your heating and cooling and system, you want to be sure that things are set up correctly. A professional can ensure that your ductwork in your home is set up well and can reach the rooms it needs to. These units are often installed either in the attic spaces or in the basement. The installation location may depend on where your existing system may already be. For example, if your furnace or HVAC system is already located in the basement, that’s where you’ll want to put your heat recovery ventilator as well. This makes the connection between heating and cooling and ventilating smooth and efficient.
Where to Buy an HRV System
Given their popularity in adding value to both your home’s heating and cooling system and your health, you can find these heat recovery ventilators in a variety of locations. Often, you’ll easily find them at your nearest appliance or home improvement store. You can also find a wide variety of units available online. Talking with an HVAC professional can help you determine the right unit you’ll need for your space and help you get it installed the right way.
Are HRVs Worth It?
When it comes to both your health and ability to save money, a heat recovery ventilator can be an important investment. While its effectiveness will be determined based on the type of unit and your unique climate or environment, they can be transformative when used as intended. Rather than seeing a ventilator as just another thing to add into your home, you can see it as a valuable investment. It’s an investment in your existing air conditioner or heater as the ventilator helps improve their efficiencies. It’s also an investment in your respiratory system as you support your health by bringing in clean, ventilated air that pushes out the old, stale air in your space. By eliminating those harmful particles in the air, you can breathe easier. While a heat recovery ventilator may take some initial resources and investigation, it can be a valuable addition to your health and your wallet overall.