Conditions in a house get stuffy during winter. The doors and windows must stay closed to keep heat trapped inside. The only way to enjoy any fresh air that sweeps out the stale and polluted air is to open up windows—and who wants to do that when it’s below freezing outside?
But there’s a solution. Open doors and windows aren’t actually the only way to enjoy fresh air. We can install a device called an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) in your HVAC system that lets you enjoy fresh air all winter without the chills.
Bring in Fresh Air Without the Cold
An ERV is designed to permit fresh air into a house without also bringing in the cold drafts that force your home’s furnace or other heating system to put in extra work. The way it does this is there in the name: it recovers the energy your heating system has already used to heat the indoor air and uses it to heat the incoming air.
It works this way: The ERV has access to outdoor air through a vent. A fan in the ERV pulls in a current of fresh but cold outdoor air into the ducts, while also drawing in a current of the heated but stale indoor air. It then moves both these currents through a single chamber where a process called counter-flow heat exchange moves heat from the warmer current to the cooler one. The incoming fresh air is heated up to be closer to the indoor temperature. The stale air is exhausted outside, and the now warmer fresh air goes indoors.
An ERV can recover around 80% of the energy used to heat the indoor air. That’s energy that would otherwise be lost if the windows or doors to the house were just opened.
It Works in Summer as Well
It’s a bit early to think about summer, but when the hot weather arrives, an ERV also helps with ventilation. The way it operates is the same, but now warm outdoor air loses heat to the cooler indoor air, recovering the energy used to cool the air. The air conditioner gets a break and you’ll enjoy fresher air inside. There’s no need to make any adjustments to the energy recovery ventilator: it just starts working when the temperature changes.
The Heat Recovery Ventilator
You may have heard about a device called a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). Is this just a different name for an ERV? No, it’s not — although it works in a similar fashion. The difference between an HRV and an ERV is that the air currents moving through an HRV don’t come into contact, instead transferring thermal energy through a heat exchanger. This means there’s no movement of moisture, so HRVs don’t affect humidity levels. They can be more effective in extreme cold temperatures compared to an ERV. Choosing the right one for your home is something you can trust to our professionals.
Installing energy and heat recovery ventilators is only one of the many services we offer for indoor air quality in West Chester, PA. Call us for more details.
Signature HVAC offers Signature Service You Can Trust! Schedule your comfort services with us this winter.