What Is An ERV System & How Does It Work?

You’ve probably read about ERV systems and the fact that they are beneficial for many homes or commercial premises. But you’d like to know more. You have two main questions: “How do Energy Recovery Ventilation systems work?” and “Why are they necessary for Ontario homes?”

You asked, we answered. Here is your complete guide to the what, why, and how ERV systems installation for your Ontario building.

How Do Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) Systems Work?

Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems work using two fans, which in turn create two airstreams. The first pulls fresh outside air into a building, while the second draws stale, polluted air out. As the airstreams travel through the ERV, heat and moisture are transferred — from the outgoing air to the incoming stream in summer and vice versa in winter.

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Approximately 99 percent of the heat energy is transferred by means of this process.

Do I Need An ERV System In Ontario?

You will need an ERV or HRV system if you own a new building or have one constructed in Ontario. The Ontario Building Code was revised to include this ventilation requirement as of January 1, 2017.

For homes and businesses that predate 2017, you will not be required to install an ERV system, but you may choose to do so in order to enjoy the energy efficiency and comfort it provides. The type of buildings that usually need a mechanical ERV ventilation system the most are well sealed and well insulated, built from the early energy-conscious era of the late 1970s to the end of 2016.

HRV vs. ERV Systems

Natural Resources Canada explains that ERV and HRV (heat recovery ventilation) systems are very similar. They are both systems whose purpose is to transfer heat. However, there is one significant difference: along with the heat, ERVs also transfer moisture.

In hot, humid summer weather, unwanted heat and moisture are transferred from indoors to outdoors. In the wintertime, the warmth and humidity of your interior air are transferred to the inflow of exterior air.

What Are The Benefits Of Installing An ERV System?

Controls Indoor Relative Humidity

Installation of an ERV system will help to keep your indoor relative humidity (the amount of moisture in the air, expressed as a percentage) at a desirable level, approximately 40 to 50 percent in summer or 30 to 40 percent in winter.

Besides enhancing indoor comfort, optimal relative humidity also prevents damage to your furnishings and possessions. Overly moist indoor conditions can lead to mould, mildew, and possibly structural weakening, while excessively dry air may cause wood floors and furniture to split or crack.

Removes Bad Odours And Contaminants

A new ERV system will improve indoor air quality for you in two practical ways:

  1. It exhausts unpleasant odours (“new furniture” aroma; bathroom, garbage, cooking, and pet odours, musty or dusty smells) together with the stale indoor air.
  2. It filters air coming in from outside to remove pollen and other airborne contaminants. This reduces potential allergy or asthma triggers.

Improves HVAC Equipment Performance

The same filter on your Energy Recovery Ventilator that protects you from contaminants will also safeguard your heating and cooling system. Because the ductwork and filters for your air conditioning and furnace will stay cleaner, your HVAC equipment will run better and last longer.

Increases Energy Efficiency And Reduces Utility Bills

Installing an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) system stops you from throwing money out the window — which is basically what you’re doing when you try to ventilate your premises by opening a window or two and end up losing large amounts of heated or air-conditioned air.

Because your new ERV system will bring in fresh healthy air with only a small percentage of energy loss, your building will be more comfortable and your utility bills will be lower.

For the ultimate in energy-efficient ERVs, look for the EnergyStar certification.

For Healthy Indoor Air Quality

Now that you know the facts, you are in a better position to consider installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator. Contact Husky to find the best ventilation system for your residential or commercial use. We are your local air quality improvement experts, serving Vaughan and the entire GTA.