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Understanding the Basics of Heat Recovery Ventilators

Understanding the Basics of Heat Recovery VentilatorsA heat recovery ventilator (HRV) brings balance to the increasingly important issue of home ventilation. More than ever, an effective ventilation system is vital to healthy indoor air quality. Homes today are built to keep fresh outdoor air out in order to hold heating and cooling in. The result? Air in living spaces stagnates and indoor pollution accumulates.

While conventional fan ventilation solutions tend to move too much air in or take too much out, a heat recovery ventilator inducts fresh air and exhausts stale air in controlled, equal volumes, maintaining the indoor air pressure balance critical to optimum heating and cooling. In addition, an HRV minimizes household heat loss and heat gain — both a source of reduced comfort and increased energy costs.

Here are the basic elements of HRV technology:

  • Small-diameter, flexible ductwork routed through your attic removes stale air from kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms while a separate identical duct conveys fresh, filtered outdoor air into bedrooms and family living spaces.
  • A central controller incorporates separate intake and exhaust fans that move exactly equal air volume through the dedicated intake and exhaust ducts.
  • A heat exchanger in the controller is positioned between the intake and exhaust air streams. While the air streams themselves never mix, heat energy extracted from the warmer air stream is transferred to the cooler stream. In winter, warmth in the outgoing exhaust air moves to the colder incoming stream to pre-warm outdoor air and preserve indoor temperatures. During summer, temperature gain and A/C expenses are minimized as warmth is removed from incoming fresh air and transferred to the outgoing exhaust air stream. Depending on the efficiency of the unit, an HRV can transfer up to 90 percent of heat energy from one stream to the other.
  • New, high-efficiency HRV models integrate programmed electronically-commutated motor fans that significantly cut energy consumption.

For more on the health, comfort, and efficiency benefits of a heat recovery ventilator, contact the professionals at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions in Orlando.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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