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Energy Recovery Ventilators

 

Creating an airtight house is at the root of creating an energy efficient home. However, one drawback is that the home’s ventilation may be compromised.  Ventilation is important for maintaining fresh air, which is essential to your physical health and the health of the home. Excess moisture can also cause mold without proper ventilation. Ventilation is most important in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

 

The best solution to ventilating your home and also possibly reducing your energy bills even further (in climates of extreme heat or cold) is an energy recovery ventilator. They bring fresh outdoor air into the home without affecting the current indoor temperature. The system allows the outgoing stale air to transfer its temperature to the incoming air. In the winter the cold incoming air is warmed by the outgoing heated air. The fresh air is thereby re-using the heat from the stale air, so the home’s heater does not need to heat it. In summer, the outgoing cool air cools the incoming warm air in the same manner. This can save on heating and cooling bills in climates of extreme temperature. The energy recovery ventilator, unlike the heat recovery ventilator, will also transfer some of the moisture to the incoming air. This enables the home humidity level to remain constant and it also can keep the units from freezing in winter, except in extreme climates.

 

Even if a home is not air-tight, some homes may need ventilators for the following reasons:

  • if kitchen has no ventilation for the stove

  • if the garage is not adequately ventilated and is attached to the home (dangerous car fumes can seep into a home)

  • if storage areas of chemicals and other toxins are not properly vented

  • if the home has furniture, kitchen cabinets, flooring or window treatments made with formaldehyde

  • if high radon levels (over 15 pCi/liter requires a radon mitigation system) have been detected

The system can be as simple as a window unit or can be incorporated into the central heating and air conditioning system. Systems run between $500 and $2000.  

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