What Is Hrv?

With the availability of state-of the art heating and cooling units, the need for air tight homes have also increased. This is to hold on to the hot or cold air that we put into them. But too much air tightness prevents the flow of air to or from the house. This is bad for the house as well as for the health of the people who live inside. You use baths, showers, clean the dishes, wash clothes and also dry them indoors through dryers. A typical family will produce 10–15 litres (3–4 gallons) of moisture each day! Even a simple act of breathing gives out moisture in the surrounding. The simple solution to get rid of the moisture is to open you door and windows. But you cannot afford to do this. This will be an absolute drainage of the money you spend in heating or cooling the house. The conditioned air will blow out through the windows into outside atmosphere. The best solution is to have your house fitted with mechanical ventilation systems. There are various types of ventilators available today. One of these is Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV).

Heat recovery ventilation is balanced ventilation with heat recovery feature. Just like balanced ventilation, the device uses two fans- one for driving fresh air from outside and the other for exhausting stale air from inside of the house to outside. But is has another important feature – the device can extract the heat in the stale air going outside and transfer it to the cool air that is coming from outside. To do this a heat recovery ventilator has a heat exchanger.

Heat recovery ventilation can be well compared to the human nose. As a child our parents would often say breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. Although we listened to them, it’s a few of us who really tried to find the reason. This is because nose uses a special mechanism while inhaling the wind which our mouth doesn’t. The nose exchanges the heat between the two airstreams- one going out of the body and the other coming in. It lets the cool air coming inside, flow so close to the air going out that the heat energy passes from the hotter to colder airstream instead of being lost. The air you breathe becomes warmer than what actually get in through your nose. This allows your body to retain heat energy.

The HRV system has a series of alternative passages through which incoming and outgoing air flows. As the streams move through, heat is transferred from the warm side of each passage to the cold, while the airstreams never mix.

Although the capacity of heat recovery of HRVs would vary from model to model, on an average these devices can recover 85% of heat from airstreams. This also reduces the pressure on the furnace to warm up the rooms. As result it helps to save on your monthly energy cost. It also contain powerful filter that will filter out pollen or dust entering the house. Installing them would cost between $2000 and $2500, but it will vary a bit depending on the situation.

In summer months the process can reverse to make your rooms cooler. The hot air that comes inside the house will give out its heat to the cooler stale air going outside. But the process of HRV is more popular for winter months. Sometimes due to extreme cold, frost can build around the heat exchanger. In such case the damper will close to stop the flow of cold air through the exchanger. It will route warm through it. Once the frost melts, the port letting in cold air will open and ventilation will resume.

A HRV can move approximately 200 cfm of air. You have to set the speed of the fan according to need of ventilation in the house. In a normal condition with few people living inside as moderate speed will suffice. However, when you have many guests, you have to increase eths peed. The devices have controls for changing speeds. They are also available with remote controls to operate them from a distance.



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