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Is There a Way to Provide Fresh Air to a Home Without Opening Windows?

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Homes built today are incredibly energy efficient, allowing homeowners to save up to $1,182 or more on utility bills each year. However, this efficiency comes at a cost. More often than not, the home becomes airtight as people leave the windows and doors closed for days or weeks at a time for fear of letting all the heat —and their savings— leak out. If you're looking for a way to get fresh air in your home without having to open the windows, consider purchasing an HRV. Here's more information about this product.

Heat Recovery Ventilation

HRV (heat recovery ventilation) is a system designed to cycle fresh air into the home every so often. What makes this system different than an ordinary fan, or simply opening the windows, is that the air pulled from the outside is warmed up using heat from outgoing air. Essentially, the appliance strips the heat from the air it's sending outside and applies it to the air it pulls inside. This way, you get fresh heated air without losing any of your energy savings.

Types of HRVs

There are a few different types of HRVs that use different methods to make the heat exchange. In an air-to-air exchanger, there are two fans that draw air from inside/outside the home to a central box where the heat and moisture from the outgoing air is transferred to the incoming air. This is probably the easiest and simplest type of system. However, the air must be above zero-degrees Celsius to avoid freezing the heat exchanger.

Earth-to-air is another type of heat exchanger. In this system, the tubes passing the air in and out of the home are buried about 3 meters or more underground where it tends to remain at a consistent temperature. The heat from the air in the outgoing pipes is essentially drawn into the surrounding ground and that heat is used to warm the air in the incoming pipes. This type of exchanger is best for people who also want to use it for their air conditioning systems in the summer time, since it has proven to be very effective at cooling warm air.

However, an earth-to-air system has its own challenges. The quality of air may not be as great depending on where you live. Additionally, it may not be recommended if you live in an area where radon in the rocks under your soil as the exchanger may accidentally pull this gas into your home, which can lead to medical problems.

A third type of HRV is an earth-to-water exchanger. The pipe is placed underground just like an earth-to-air. However, the earth is warmed not by outgoing air but by water. The heat from this system is then used to warm up the incoming air to the correct temperature. Although this system can be just as effective as the other two, the main concern here is you may develop a leak in the system, which can cause soil erosion. If the pipes are located under your home, this may lead to problems such as an unstable foundation or even a sinkhole appearing in your lawn.

The best type of HRV system for you will depend on your goals, preferences, and your budget. However, each of these systems can help reduce your energy bills in addition to providing you with the fresh you need. Thus, whichever system you choose to invest in will eventually pay for itself after a number of years and may even make your home more valuable to future homebuyers.

For more information about HRVs or to have one installed in your home, contact a local heating contractor.