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3 Types of HVAC Ventilation Systems

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
Air leaks reduce the efficiency of a home's HVAC system, requiring you to spend more money to heat and cool your home. For this reason, more people than ever take steps to eliminate air leaks from their home. While this measure will certainly lower your monthly bills, it can have an unintended consequence when it comes to indoor air quality.

Fortunately, homeowners can ensure that the air in their HVAC system remains as fresh as possible by installing a special ventilation system. Of course, first you must choose the type of ventilation system best suited to your needs. This article outlines the three most common options to choose from.

1. Balanced Ventilation System

A balanced ventilation system offers simple, effective air quality results. This type of system has a simple goal: to push stale air out of your home, while drawing fresh air in. In order to prevent pressurization problems, the rate of incoming and outgoing air must match one another exactly.

Theoretically, a balanced ventilation system can share the ducts used by your HVAC system. Yet this approach often makes it more difficult to ensure that incoming and outgoing rates match precisely. Although the ventilator rates may balance one another when the HVAC system's blower is off, as soon as the blower system comes on the pressure may destabilize.

Balanced ventilation systems can also create problems for overall energy efficiency in winter. The stale air pushed out of your home by the ventilator contains heat. The incoming air, by contrast, tends to be much cooler. As a result, your furnace has to work harder to raise the fresh air back up to temperature.

2. Heat Recovery Ventilation System

Those concerned about the effect that a balanced ventilation system might have on their heating bills should instead consider a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV. In most regards, these two systems work in very similar ways. One duct takes stale air out of your home, while another brings fresh air in.

Unlike balanced ventilation systems, however, a heat recovery ventilator contains a special heat-exchange core. This metal component brings the pipe containing the outgoing air into direct proximity with the pipe containing the cool incoming air. The design of the heat-exchange core allows heat to pass from the outgoing to the incoming air.

This process of heat exchange minimizes the increased work load placed on your furnace. In fact, an HRV system can successfully recover as much as 85 percent of the heat contained in the outgoing air. An HRV also helps to cool down incoming air in summer months, thus reducing the amount of work your air conditioner has to do.

3. Energy Recovery Ventilation System

Although a heat recovery ventilator provides effective results when it comes to minimizing heat-loss, such systems fail to regulate another important air quality factor: moisture. The air passing out of an HRV contains a certain percentage of moisture - usually more than the air flowing in from outside.

As a result, indoor humidity levels tend to drop when using an HRV. This moisture-loss can create respiratory problems for sensitive individuals. During the summer, the opposite problem occurs. Super-moist air from outdoors floods your home, creating moisture-related problems and often requiring that you run a dehumidifier.

An energy recovery ventilation system, or ERV, provides an effective solution to the problem of moisture regulation. An ERV doesn't just transfer heat between the two air streams, but it also transfers moisture. This ability ensures that humidity levels inside of your home remain within the comfort zone of 40 to 60 percent.

Indoor air quality plays a key role in the comfort of your home. For more information on how to ensure that your air stays as fresh as possible, contact the HVAC experts at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC.