If you're serious about ventilating your Fort Wayne area home, you'll probably want to consider a balanced ventilation system. These systems – either a Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) or an Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) – aggressively exchange stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. While doing so, they also exchange heat energy in the two parallel airstreams to minimize the amount of conditioned air that gets exhausted from the home. So what's the difference between an ERV and HRV?
While an HRV transfers heat from one airstream to the other (heat transferred from exhaust air to incoming air in the winter, and vice versa in the summer), an ERV also transfers some moisture in the air from the more humid airstream to the drier one. In the winter, this tends to move moisture from the exhaust air to the incoming air, since the cold outside air can't hold as much moisture as warm inside air.
In the summer, outdoor air tends to be muggier than indoor air, so the moisture exchange in an ERV really isn't that desirable. This is especially the case in an airtight home where the cooling system doesn't stay on long enough to dehumidify the home. In both cases, a humid climate and a tight house, you don't want to make indoor air any more humid than it already is.
In a dry climate or during drier times of the year, the air inside your home might well be more humid than the air outside. In this case, an ERV can help dehumidify indoor air by transferring moisture to the exhaust ventilation.
Both HRVs and ERVs accomplish the main goal of ventilation by increasing the amount of fresh air inside a house, enhancing its healthiness, removing odors and diluting indoor pollutants. While in some limited cases, the ERV can aid a fourth goal of ventilation, dehumidification, in most cases you'll still want to use a dehumidification system during the more humid months.
For more help understanding the difference between an ERV and HRV, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ERV and HRVs and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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