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The Choice: Energy Recovery Ventilator or Heat Recovery Ventilator?

During yet another cold winter in Chicago, you may not realize that a key part of staying comfortable inside your house is maintaining a good level of indoor air quality. This is one of the unpleasant little secrets of the modern home: they don’t “breathe” well. This keeps heat from escaping in winter (and keeps the heat out in the summer) but it ends up trapping contaminant-filled, stuffy air indoors, and that can be a problem.

This is why we recommend people consider installing an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). They work in mostly similar fashions. They draw currents of fresh outdoor air into a house, and then run that air through a heat exchanger where an outgoing current of stale indoor air pre-heats the fresh air. This “recovers” the energy used to warm the house and uses it to warm the fresh air. A house loses stale air, gains fresh air, and the heating system doesn’t have to suffer from extra stress. (The process works in reverse during the summer.)

So which one should you have installed?

If ERVs and HRVs work in a similar fashion, how can you choose between the two of them? What do they do that’s different?

What’s different is that an ERV exchanges moisture along with heat during the heat exchange process. This allows the ERV to help with indoor humidity control. But the HRV is better at handling cold weather than the ERV. The way to choose between the two of them is to talk to professional indoor air quality installers. The right ventilation system for your house depends greatly on how much humidity is an issue for your home as well as the home’s insulation level. An expert can determine which of the two will work best for you. All you have to do is contact our IAQ team and they’ll see you have the right installation.

Malek Heating & Cooling can help you with your heating and indoor air quality needs in Skokie, IL and throughout Chicagoland.

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