Home ventilation systems can help the air in your house maintain optimum relative humidity, along with keeping it fresh and odor-free. You can choose between an exhaust-only system, a central-fan-integrated supply system and a balanced system. If you want to try a balanced system, you’ll have to choose between ERVs and HRVs, or between an energy-recovery model (ERV) and a heat-recovery model (HRV).
How does it work?
The fans of the HRV suck in fresh air and blow out stale air. In winter, the heat from the warmer air gets transferred to the cooler air so that it is not lost. An ERV works the same way, except that instead of transferring heat, it transfers humidity, so that moisture from the more humid air transfers to the dryer air, controlling, to some degree, the humidification of your home.
Proper humidity levels can keep people comfortable and houses intact, but levels that are too high or too low can cause problems for inhabitants as well as your home’s structure. Ventilation with an ERV will only reduce your home’s relative humidity if external air is dryer than internal air, which often means only in cold, dry weather.
Which type is right for me?
When deciding between these two ventilation types, take into consideration whether you live in a big house (over 2500 square feet) or a smaller house; how many people live in the household; and how hot, cold, wet, or dry your climate is. Bigger houses with fewer inhabitants should choose an ERV, while smaller houses with more inhabitants should choose an HRV.
In the end, the difference in performance between these ERVs and HRVs is minor. Make your decision based on the energy efficiency of the model you are considering. Balanced ventilation systems are expensive to install, but their operating costs are lower than that of any other ventilator system, and if installed correctly with their own dedicated ductwork, they can keep the air in your house free of pollutants, foul odors and excessive humidity.
For more advice about home comfort in the Arlington/Fort Worth area, contact AirRite Air Conditioning Company, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ventilation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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