To keep as much heat trapped as possible indoors and prevent cold drafts in winter, a house must have extensive insulation and air sealing. This may help with comfort and energy efficiency, but it also leads to a build-up of indoor contaminants and air that can be too humid or sometimes too dry.
What can you do about this? Open up the doors and windows for some fresh air? No, that just ruins the whole point of having a home insulated in the first place. All the energy used for the heating system simply goes to waste.
But what if you could recover that energy and use it to heat up fresh air coming from the outside? That’s just what an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) does, and it’s a great solution to unpleasant indoor air during winter.
How an ERV works in winter
An ERV is integrated into your home’s ventilation system. It draws in a current of fresh, cold air from outside. It then runs it through a heat exchanger where it moves through a current of stale, warm air drawn from inside—air that’s already been heated by the furnace or other heating system. In the heat exchanger, the heat from the indoor air transfers to the outdoor air, pre-heating it before it reaches the house. In this way, the energy used to heat the air is “recovered.” Fresh air gets into the house without bringing in the cold, and the stale air is vented outside.
Yes, it works in summer as well
The process simply flips around during hot weather. The fresh air brought in from the outside is hot, and it loses its heat to the indoor air that’s been cooled down by the air conditioner. The energy used to cool the air is “recovered” and used to lower the temperature of the incoming air.
If an ERV sounds like the indoor air quality solution you’ve been looking for, call on Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We serve Wake Forest, NC and the surrounding areas.