What’s The Difference Between HRV And ERV Systems?

HRV vs. ERV Systems

You probably already know the importance of ventilation for Canadian homes. Your next step is learning about the difference between HRV and ERV systems.

Both methods of whole-house mechanical ventilation are excellent at improving your indoor air quality, yet each has advantages and disadvantages. There’s really no “one size fits all” solution. But once you read the facts below, you’ll be better prepared to make the right choice.

What Does HRV Mean?

HRV stands for “heat recovery ventilation.”

How Do HRV Systems Work?

HRV systems vent stale air outdoors and bring in fresh air. At the same time, in the winter they literally recover part of the heat from the outgoing air (which is warmed by your furnace, as well as sources such as your water heater, cooking, and washing) and use it to pre-warm incoming air.

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In summer, an HRV system goes through a similar process. However, now it works to recover some of the outgoing air’s chill (from your air conditioning), utilizing it to cool the incoming air.

In either case, your furnace or air conditioner won’t have to work as hard and you’ll need less energy to bring the new air to a comfortable temperature. With energy loss minimized, your utility bills are lower.

What Does ERV Mean?

ERV is the acronym for “energy recovery ventilation.”

How Do ERV Systems Work?

An energy recovery system also draws in fresh air from outside to replace stale indoor air. In the process, it transfers some of the heat or chill from the outgoing air to the new supply.

What’s The Difference Between HRV And ERV Systems?

The one major difference between HRV and ERV systems is likely to be the decision-maker when you’re making your choice: HRV systems recover only heated or cooled air, depending on the season, but ERV systems recover both heat and relative humidity.

In winter, moisture recovery helps keep your indoor air from becoming too dry, while in summer, it prevents excessive humidity from entering your home.

Overly dry air makes your family more vulnerable to health conditions like dry skin and sore throats. On the other hand, air that’s too moist fosters mold and mildew growth, leading to allergies and respiratory problems. Both extremes are bad for the structure of your house.

Which Is Right For My Home?

Before you choose, consider the following differences between HRVs and ERVs:

Local Climate: An ERV’s moisture recovery feature is desirable when you live in a climate like we have in Brampton and the GTA – cold, dry winters, yet hot, humid summers.

Your Heating System: HRVs work well when you use a non-drying heating system such as a boiler. If your heating tends to dry the air (electric baseboard heaters, for example), an ERV is preferable.

When Your Home Was Built: ERVs are recommended for homes built prior to the 1970s that usually have drier indoor air, because their construction allows humidity to escape outdoors. HRVs are good for more airtight newer homes.

Size of Your Household: More people in a home (especially a relatively small one) means more humidity — from showers, cooking, and simply breathing. In this type of household, an HRV would be a great choice. ERVs are right for smaller families and larger houses.

We’ll Help You Decide

The Dr. HVAC friendly experts will help you choose the best ventilation system for your home. We’ll walk you through the process, from selection through installation, and answer all your questions.

Request a free quote to start improving your indoor air quality.