How an Energy Recovery Ventilator Works in Winter

The air in a home can often become stuffy and filled with numerous airborne contaminants during the winter. The reason for this is that your home is sealed off against the outdoors for most of the season. Doors and windows shut, sealing and weather stripping stopping drafts, closed chimney flue, etc. You don’t want the heat escaping from your house and placing extra pressure on the heating system. But this means there’s no opportunity for contamination from indoor sources, such as cleaning supplies, combustion gases, and building materials, to escape either. Instead they build up.

The professional installation of an energy recovery ventilator is a way to get around this problem. What it does is allow fresh air into your house while recovering the energy used to heat the air so it doesn’t go to waste.

Here’s how it works

An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is integrated into the HVAC system so that it can pull in a current of fresh outdoor air into the ducts. This air is cold, but the ERV uses a process called cross-current heat exchange to warm it up. The fresh cold air moves into a heat exchanger in the ERV where it passes through a current of warm, stale indoor air. The heat from the indoor air transfers to the outdoor air and warms it up. This is where the “energy recovery” part happens: the energy that heated the air in the first place is recovered and used to heat up the incoming air.

The end result: the fresh outdoor air is brought into the house already warmed up, and the stale indoor air is exhausted outdoors with little heat going with it. The house has fresh air without making the heating system much harder. It’s like having an open window that lets in fresh air but doesn’t allow heat out.

There’s an additional benefit: moisture control. Moisture moves between the two air currents, and this helps to balance the indoor humidity, whether it’s too dry or too humid.

To find out more about installing an energy recovery ventilator in Arden, NC for both winter and summer air quality, contact Comfort Central, Inc.

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