A Guide to Energy Recovery Ventilators

Advancements in construction technology mean that new homes in Gatlinburg, TN, are better sealed and have fewer air leaks. That’s great news for improved energy efficiency. However, it can also create issues with poor indoor air quality and high humidity, which can be overcome with an energy recovery ventilator. To understand how, let’s take a closer look at how energy recovery ventilators work and what benefits they can provide.

How Does an Energy Recovery Ventilator Work?

An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is a special type of mechanical ventilation system that pulls stale air out of the building and draws fresh air in. The ERV constantly circulates fresh air inside and stale air out using two fans. One fan draws air in while the other pumps air back out.

What makes an ERV different from other ventilation systems is that it contains a heat exchanger. When your air conditioning is running, the heat exchanger captures cold from the outgoing air and transfers it to the incoming stream of fresh air.

The process works in a similar way when your heating system is running. In this case, the ERV captures heat energy from the outgoing air and transfers it to the incoming air.

ERVs also work to absorb humidity from the air. When your AC system is running, the ERV absorbs moisture from the incoming air so that the air coming into the building isn’t as humid. When your heating is on, the ERV absorbs moisture from the outgoing air so that the air inside the building doesn’t become too dry.

How an ERV Impacts Your HVAC System

ERVs can transfer up to 99% of the heat energy from the outgoing air stream into the incoming air. This essentially preheats or pre-cools the air coming into the building. As a result, your air conditioner or furnace won’t have to work as hard to maintain a consistent temperature.

If the ventilation system didn’t cool the air and remove some of the moisture from it as it comes into the building, all of that heat and humidity would quickly raise the temperature. This would lead to increased stress on your AC system and make it much more difficult to manage indoor temperature and humidity. The same is also true if the ventilation system brings in cold, dry air during the winter.

By pre-conditioning the air, an ERV can reduce the amount of time your cooling or heating system needs to run. This leads to decreased energy costs and improved home comfort. It also reduces the wear and tear on your HVAC equipment and can potentially increase the lifespan of it.

Understanding the Benefits of an ERV

In addition to improved comfort and lower energy costs, installing an ERV can provide a number of other important advantages. One of the biggest benefits is improved indoor air quality, as the ERV is constantly drawing the stale, polluted air outside and replacing it with fresh, clean air.

Another way that an ERV can improve air quality is by better managing indoor humidity levels. The high humidity in Gatlinburg, TN, means that microbial can quickly start growing inside your home. By absorbing much of the moisture as it draws air into the building, an ERV can help control humidity and prevent microbial growth.

ERVs can also help prevent unpleasant odors caused by pets, cooking and other indoor activities. As the ERV runs, it draws all of that smelly, contaminated air outside. This ensures that the air inside is always fresh and free of unpleasant odors.

ERVs also allow you to have adequate ventilation without wasting energy. Opening your windows or doors is great for letting fresh air in, but it also allows all of the heated or cooled air to escape. ERVs avoid this issue by transferring most of the heat energy before the stale air exits the building.

We provide a full range of residential and light commercial HVAC services in Gatlingburg, TN. To learn more about the benefits of an ERV, or if you need any other HVAC services, give Pol’s Heating and Cooling, LLC a call today.

Image provided by iStock

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