HRV vs. ERV: What They Do and Which Is Best for You

No matter where you live in the country, it’s likely that you will experience drab weather from time to time. Whether it be overcast skies, torrential rain, or high humidity in the summer months, you may notice that there is a damp feel in your home or a musty smell, meaning it may be time to purchase a ventilation system.

There are tons of benefits that come with installing a ventilation system in your home. Not only can it get rid of allergens, the system can help to eliminate excess moisture, helping to cut down on heating and cooling costs. Here, we will explore what HRV (heat recovery ventilators) and ERV (energy-recovery ventilators) are and what they can do for your home.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

A heat recovery ventilator is made up of two air ducts. The first helps to carry fresh air in and the second is used to take stale air out. Both types of air pass through a device known as a heat exchanger which enables heat to transfer from each airstream without the risk of both airstreams encountering each other. Depending on the humidity level and temperature, you can adjust the speed of the fan found in each air duct to ensure your home is more efficiently cooled or heated.

The Key Benefits

A heat recovery ventilator can get rid of any stuffy air that is in your home. Rooms that tend to benefit the most from a ventilator include bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. What’s more a HRV can drive fresh air into rooms that are more frequently used such as the living area or bedroom. When temperatures soar, you can use a HRV to precool any fresh air that is coming into your home. As the two airstreams never meet each other, this means that any air coming into the home is not contaminated.

Energy Recovery Ventilator

An ERV (energy recovery ventilator) works like a HRV in the respect that each air duct either pushes stale air out of the home, or brings fresh air in. However, the main difference is that an energy recovery ventilator manages humidity too, helping to retain or remove humidity by transferring the moisture between airstreams. The humidity control function can not only provide comfort, but also ensure the heat exchanger core stays warm, helping it to run much more efficiently.

The Key Benefits

An energy recovery ventilator works best in areas that experience extreme weather, whether this be hot and humid summers, or cold and dry winters. In the summer months, an energy recovery ventilator system can help to eliminate humidity in the home, which in turn reduces the build-up of mould, ensuring the air feels fresher. In the winter months, an energy recovery ventilator ensures that the air coming into your home retains some moisture, which can help to prevent nosebleeds, and dry skin that are common conditions when the air is very dry.

Which is Better?

Now you have an idea of what HRV’s and ERV’s can do for your home, picking between the two can be tricky. The main difference between the two is how the heat exchanger functions. A heat recovery ventilator only exchanges heat, whereas an energy recovery ventilator exchanges heat and water vapour.

There are various factors that you need to consider when selecting the right ventilation system for your home. The first of these is climate. If you live in a place that has extreme weather, an energy recovery ventilator system may be the better choice. You will also need to factor in the size of your family and the lifestyle you lead. The larger your family, the more chance you have of air being retained which can cause more moisture to linger around the home. The more people who share the same space as you, the more water is being used. A ventilator system can help to get rid of mould and condensation too.

Also, families who tend to cook often will generate more moisture and heat throughout the kitchen over those who don’t. Therefore, make sure to take time to address your situation so you can be certain you’re picking the right ventilation system. If you or any member of your family has allergies such as asthma, an energy recovery ventilator may be the best option to pick.

There are so many benefits that you can receive from installing a ventilation system in your home. However, make sure to factor in how many people you live with and whether anyone in the home has any allergies as one ventilation system may work better than the other for your specific needs.