Think the air in your home is fresh? Think again, and think HRV.
Love your new triple-glazed energy efficient windows that keep out the chill? What about that expensive new foam insulation you had piped into the walls?
If you, like many homeowners, pride yourself on your well sealed home and low energy bills, beware. There’s another side to this coin, and it’s stale air.
While homes today do an optimum job of shielding us from the elements, they also block the fresh air we need. Cracking open a window is an obvious solution, but one few Canadians consider in the dead of winter.
A better solution is a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) – or “fresh air machine.” An HRV is a mechanical ventilation
unit that keeps heat in while moving stale air out. It attaches to your home’s duct system and is tied to exterior vents to take out the stale household air and bring in fresh air from the outdoors.
Thanks to its heat-exchange core, which transfers heat from the outgoing air stream to the incoming air stream, HRVs can also save you money. According to the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada
(HRAI), they recover as much as 85 per cent of the heat in the outgoing airstream. What this means is that less energy is used to heat fresh air, a home’s furnace runs less and, best of all, energy costs drop.
HRVs were developed in response to increasingly tight, energy efficient homes. The reality is that exchange of air in
homes today is a fraction of what it used to be – sometimes only one exchange of air per hour. A few years back, seven to nine exchanges were the norm.
This can increase moisture, leading to mold and the release of toxins. Appliances and systems that utilize air for combustion – gas ranges, fireplaces and water heaters – further deplete a home of air and can produce other pollutants, while oven hoods and central vacuum systems also do their bit sucking air out. Then there are harmful chemicals released from synthetic fabrics, furnishings and household products, which add to the problem.
The result is a ‘perfect storm’ of stale, moist, chemical or even toxin laden air. To combat this, a balanced ventilation system is critical, and an HRV is an option worth considering. To speak to a qualified contractor and for more information on HRV’s, visit HRAI’s contractor locator at www.hrai.ca/contractorlocator.php.
More Consumer Tips and Information
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- The Hard Sell: Regular Maintenance on Your Heating and Cooling Systems
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- Heat and Cool Your Home from the Earth
- A Clean Home is Cheaper to Run
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- It's time for your annual check-up
- Keeping Canada clean: Industry-led program safely disposes of harmful chemicals
- Eliminate, Ventilate, Filter...
- Consumer's Guide to Heat Pumps
- What you need to know about indoor air quality and ventilation
- Improving the Air in Your Home
- Energy Star - HVAC EnerGuide
- Think the Air in Your Home is Fresh? Think again, Think HRV
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- Optimize Your Air Conditioning System
- Choosing the Right Air Conditioner for Your Home
- Four spring cleaning tips to save money on energy
- Zoning Technology Cools the House More Efficiently
- Keep Cool Without Losing Your Cool (household air conditioner noise)
- Replacing Your Central Air Conditioning or Heat Pump System -- Choosing a properly-matched system
- Choose the Right Size of Air Conditioner, Furnace, Heat Pump or Boiler to fit your home
Have a question or concern that is not addressed here? Contact HRAI directly.