What is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)?

What is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)?

Heat Recovery Ventilators, or HRVs for short, are becoming more and more popular in mechanical rooms across Canada, especially in newest homes. But what do they do? And in what applications are they helpful? We’re here to clear some of this up so you can make the best informed decisions for your home.

Seriously… What is an HRV?

An HRV is an energy recovery ventilation system that works to reduce the heating and cooling demands of a building. It does this by recovering any residual heat left in the furnace exhaust exiting the home, and using it to warm the fresh air being brought into the home from outside.  This can save the homeowner significant energy costs, as the furnace no longer needs to heat up the fresh air from cold to warm before cycling, as it is already heated by the HRV.

The same process takes place in the summer when the air conditioning is on, except that it will cool down the fresh incoming air before cycling it through your HVAC system.

HRV Operational Diagram JPEG

What are the Benefits of an HRV?

One of the more obvious and marketed benefits of installing an HRV system are the energy cost savings. Depending on how old the home is, a HRV can result in significant energy savings year-round.

Another benefit of an HRV is that it also acts as an air purifier to an extent, as it removed the old, stale, bacteria-ridden air from your home and replaces it with fresh outdoor air at a more consistent pace.

Can Every Home Benefit from an HRV?

Most newer homes in Edmonton may already have an HRV installed due to recent changes in code requirements, as they have been deemed a highly important in keeping homes safe, clean, and energy efficient. That being said, not every home will benefit from an HRV to the extent that newer homes will. A lot of this discrepancy has to do with the difference in how tight newer homes are built in comparison to older homes, and as a result, may have a limited impact on energy savings in older homes.

In Summary…

Heat Recovery Ventilators are a wonderful (and often required) addition to newer homes in Edmonton, and they can offer significant benefits to the safety and health of a home. That being said, they do not always provide a significant impact in terms of energy savings, especially in older homes.

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