Northern lower Michigan. Wondering what the downside of ERVs are.
Are there longevity / maintenance issues with ERVs? Does the moisture
transfer media require more frequent maintenance / degrade sooner /
have mold / slime issues? Would appreciate experiences and thoughts.
Energy Recovery Ventilator. Exchanges both heat and moisture between
exhausted air and incoming fresh air.. HRV - Heat Recovery Ventilator
(air to air heat exchanger) only exchanges heat between exhaust air
and incoming fresh air. Sorry for the acronyms.
K., the answer depends on the ERV. Some ERVs do require a drain or a
chemical dessicant, but these aren't preferable. You want an ERV that
is efficient enough at transferring the moisture that there is no
condensate, therefore no mold/slime issues. The inside of the unit
should remain dry. (I will say this doesn't happen with every ERV ...
some ERVs are manufactured with paper filters that retain moisture and
deteriorate over time.)
Other than that, HRVs and ERVs both require routine maintenance ...
generally every 6 months or so ... to clean the filtration material.
In my opinion (I'll admit that my company does manufacture ERVs), ERVs
are preferable to HRVs in every climate, because they maintain the
temperature AND humidity in the home. In humid climates, they turn away
humidity before it enters the home. In cold climates, they keep the
home from drying out. (Because HRVs don't address moisture at all, they
send it out of the house.) You will hear contrasting opinions on this
from HRV manufacturers, so I suggest you ask several until you're
satisfied. Also, you might want to visit these links:
The Oregon Department of Energy (where ours is the only unit qualified
to earn the state's top energy efficiency tax credit)
Sustainable Building Sourcebook
The University of Minnesota Extension Service
UltimateAir.com (our web site)
Best of luck!
Susan Branch Smith
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