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How to Advise Your Customers About Heat Recovery Ventilators

Improving indoor air quality and energy efficiency are priorities in the HVAC industry. Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) are a powerful tool for achieving both. Understanding how HRVs manage humidity can benefit your customers as warmer months approach.

HRVs can continually remove stale indoor air by replacing it with fresh outdoor air while conserving the energy used to regulate the temperature indoors. An HRV system consists of two fans and a heat exchanger. One fan draws in fresh air from the outside, and the other extracts the stale inside air. The two airstreams pass by each other through a heat exchanger core, typically made of aluminum or plastic plates. This allows the heat energy from outgoing indoor air to transfer to the incoming air or vice versa, heating it in winter and cooling it in summer. This process can recover up to 92% of heat energy, significantly reducing the load on the HVAC system.

Controlling indoor humidity levels is essential, especially during the warmer months and in specific locations. HRVs help remove moisture inside the building and replace it with dry air from outside. The continuous exchange of air helps maintain balanced indoor humidity, preventing mold growth and uncomfortable high humidity. In winter, the HRV captures heat from expelled warm air by preheating the incoming cold air. The process is reversed in summer, with the HRV precooling the incoming hot, fresh air using the cooler exhaust air. This efficient heat exchange process ensures that the indoor environment remains comfortable without putting additional strain on the HVAC system.

Beyond energy efficiency, HRVs significantly enhance indoor air quality (IAQ). HRVs remove smoke (including from wildfires), urban air pollution, VOCs, moisture and odors, mold and mildew, and viruses and bacteria. This is done by continuously flushing out bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas and filtering the incoming air, ensuring only clean air enters the building. This is particularly beneficial in modern airtight buildings where natural ventilation is limited. HRVs provide controlled leak-proof ventilation without compromising energy efficiency, making them essential to maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

For HVAC professionals, understanding the advantages of HRVs can help them recommend and implement solutions that meet energy efficiency and IAQ  goals. HRVs improve IAQ by removing stale air and supplying fresh filtered air, but they also help balance ventilation, control moisture levels, and reduce energy consumption. This reduces heating and cooling costs and a more comfortable and healthier living space.

When advising customers about HRVs, there are several important points to keep in mind:

Energy savings: Explain how HRVs can reduce heating and cooling costs by recovering up to 92% of the heat energy from exhaust air.

Improved air quality: Highlight the benefits of continuous fresh air supply and pollutant removal, which are crucial for health and comfort.

Humidity control: Emphasize the role of HRVs in managing indoor humidity, especially during warmer months, to prevent mold growth.

Suitability for airtight homes: Recommend HRVs for modern, energy-efficient homes with limited natural ventilation, ensuring controlled ventilation without energy loss.

Maintenance requirements: Inform customers about the importance of regular maintenance, like heat exchanger cleaning and filter changes, to ensure optimal performance.

Integration with existing Systems: Discuss how HRVs can be integrated with existing HVAC systems to enhance overall efficiency and comfort.

Long-term benefits: Focus on the long-term benefits of installing HRVs, including reduced energy bills, improved IAQ, and increased property value.

How do we keep HRVs running smoothly? Regular maintenance. This includes changing filters, cleaning the heat exchanger, and checking the fans and control systems. Proper installation and integration with existing HVAC systems are also crucial for maximizing the benefits of HRVs.

As we move into the warmer months, HRVs’ role in managing humidity and improving indoor air quality becomes increasingly important. By understanding how HRVs work and their benefits, HVAC professionals can provide better solutions for their clients, ensuring comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environments.

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