Balanced ventilation helps resolve the long-standing issues of getting adequate fresh air into the house without compromising home comfort and energy efficiency. Systems that only induct fresh air—or only exhaust stale air—can unbalance air pressure inside the house. Either one-way approach can lead to temperature instability as well as indoor air quality issues.
Balanced ventilation, on the other hand, draws in fresh, filtered outdoor air while exhausting an equal volume of stale indoor air. Two systems—an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) and an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator)—function similarly to efficiently ventilate your home environment.
A heat recovery ventilator adds fresh air and removes stale air while also keeping indoor temperatures stable. Here are the basic features:
- A central controller unit integrates blowers connected to the intake stream and exhaust stream.
- Small diameter, dedicated flexible ductwork delivers filtered fresh outdoor air to individual rooms while pulling out stale air.
- At the central controller, a heat exchanger transfers heat between the streams according to seasonal temperatures.
- In winter, heat is extracted from the exhaust air stream and added to the colder incoming stream of fresh air. This prevents temperature loss due to the influx of colder outdoor air.
- In summer, heat transfer reverses: the heat exchanger takes heat from hotter outdoor fresh air and adds it to the outgoing exhaust stream to avoid unwanted household heat gain.
The energy recovery ventilator performs the same functions of the HRV while also adding an extra feature of humidity reduction. In summer, bringing in fresh outdoor air may mean increasing indoor humidity levels. Higher humidity degrades indoor comfort and makes the house harder to cool.
The central controller in an energy recovery ventilator incorporates enthalpic technology to extract water vapor from the incoming fresh air stream and add it to the drier exhaust stream on the way out of the house. This helps keeps home humidity in EPA-recommended range for both comfort and health.
For more information about the benefits of balanced ventilation in your home, talk to the air quality experts at Detmer and Sons.