In the thick of winter, tightly sealed houses can feel nice and snug, but the stagnant interior air could cause a variety of health issues. Ventilation solutions have advanced a long way from opening and closing windows and installing extractor fans. These days, modern ventilation solutions such as heat recovery systems can provide the best of both worlds—effective ventilation with efficient heating.
What Are Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems?
Heat recovery systems (HRV) are also referred to as mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems (MVHR). As the name suggests, the system provides ventilation while recovering heat that would otherwise be lost. MVHRs are energy efficient and controlled air circulation systems.
With a conventional ventilation system like a bathroom extractor fan, a suction action removes air from the interior and blows it along a pipe to the exterior of the home. During cold weather, these systems remove large amounts of warm air from the house, creating a situation where the heaters have to constantly run to maintain a comfortable temperature.
With a modern heat recovery system, damp or stale air is similarly suctioned out of rooms. But, instead of being expelled immediately, the system saves the heat from the air and passes it on to fresh and filtered air that is introduced from the exterior. This means that most of the heat from the outgoing air is recovered instead of wasted, thus making it easier to keep the house warm.
Heat recovery systems can range from small to big units. Single room MVHR systems can replace existing extractor fans and are space-efficient and easier to install—perfect for studio apartments and modest rooms. Larger MVHR systems for the entire house can control the air quality across multiple rooms, removing wet and smelly air from bathrooms and kitchens and cycling clean air into bedrooms and living areas.
And MVHR systems are not only for the colder months either. In the summer, air conditioning systems cool your rooms, but, in doing so, they recirculate stale air and can create condensation droplets that
cause infectious particles to spread. Certain advanced MVHR systems not only ventilate, filter, and heat the air in your room but also cool the air and control the humidity, providing complete fresh air microclimate control.
The Pros of Heat Recovery Systems
While insulated and well-sealed buildings are essential for maintaining indoor temperatures, particularly during the winter, they are often poorly ventilated. Insufficient ventilation can lead to a build-up of condensation, mold, dust, and unpleasant odors within the home. In addition, gas stoves and heaters could release toxic gases that can be dangerous if not extracted.
The most significant advantage of installing a heat recovery system is the superior indoor air quality. Stale and polluted indoor air has been known to lead to health problems such as allergies, asthma, and rhinitis. Breathing in
black mold is particularly serious with potentially deadly long-term risks. MVHR systems eliminate a large part of this problem by ensuring that there is a continuous supply of fresh and filtered air to your home.
Another important advantage is the reduction of heating costs. MVHR systems can recover as much as 95 percent of heat from outgoing air that would normally be wasted. While the exact figures depend on the airtightness of the property, heating requirements can be reduced up to 30 percent with the installation of a heat recovery system.
MVHR systems can replace conventional bathroom extractor fans and window vents, removing the need for trickle vents or noisy engines. The upgraded environment is not only healthier but also draft-free and quieter. MVHR systems are fully adjustable with remote or manual controls and they are fully compliant with the latest building code requirements.
The Cons of Heat Recovery Systems
Price is probably the biggest concern when it comes to installing heat recovery systems. However, although MVHR systems have a higher up-front cost, they will save you money in heating and electrical bills over time. The initial cost of an energy-efficient MVHR system could be returned within five years and will add value to your home, making it a worthy investment.
Installation and maintenance can be a worry for those who are unfamiliar with mechanic equipment. Luckily, most MVHR systems can be easily installed with guided DIY kits. Otherwise, experts such as
BPC Ventilation Ireland could take care of the installation for you. Maintenance is even easier, as filters only need to be changed once or twice a year.
A heat recovery system is one of the best home improvement investments anybody could make. They not only improve your indoor air quality and health but also help you to save on heating costs. By installing a heat recovery system, you can enjoy even heat distribution and fresh air throughout the home, and rest assured that you are doing your part for the Earth with an energy-efficient solution.