An ERV, or energy recovery ventilator, is a mechanical ventilation system that helps improve indoor air quality by exchanging stale air with fresh air from outside while recovering energy that would otherwise be lost. Keep reading to learn more about ERVs, if you should have one, how they work, and their benefits.

What is an ERV?

An ERV is a device that helps to regulate the air quality and temperature inside a building. It exchanges stale, warm air with fresh, cooler air. This helps to conserve energy by reducing the need for heating and cooling systems. An ERV also filters out pollutants and particles from the air, improving indoor air quality.

How do I choose an ERV?

When choosing an ERV, there are several factors to consider. The size of the home, the climate, and the number of people in the house all play a role in what type of ERV is best for a given situation. Another critical factor is whether or not the home has a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) installed. If it does, then an ERV may not be necessary.

The first and most important is to determine the climate in which your home is located. An ERV is most effective in an environment that experiences both humid and cold winters. The second consideration is the size of your home. An ERV should be sized to meet your home's needs, considering the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the amount of living space.

An ERV works by exchanging indoor air with outdoor air. This can help reduce energy consumption in cold climates by heating incoming fresh air instead of recirculating stale air. In hot climates, an ERV can help cool incoming air. An HRV, on the other hand, only exchanges heat between indoor and outdoor air and is not effective at cooling or dehumidifying a space.

If you have a forced air heating and cooling system, an ERV can be installed in the ductwork and will work in conjunction with your existing system. If you have a hydronic heating system, an ERV can be installed in the boiler room and will work with your current system. If you have a hot water heating system, an ERV can be installed in the plenum and work with your existing system.

If your home is well-insulated, an ERV may not be necessary. If your home is not well-insulated, an ERV can help to improve the insulation by exchanging the air in the house. If your home has high-efficiency windows, an ERV may not be necessary either. If your home has low-efficiency windows, an ERV can help improve the windows' efficiency by exchanging and cooling the air in the house.

Are any rebates or tax credits available for purchasing or installing an ERV?
A few refunds and tax credits are available for buying or installing an ERV. The federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit for homeowners who install qualified home energy property, which includes ERVs. Some states also offer rebates and incentives. Contact your state energy office or local utility company to see if any programs are available in your area.

When should I use an ERV?

An ERV should be used when there is a need to control humidity levels, such as in winter when humidity levels are naturally higher indoors. They can also be helpful in areas with high outdoor temperatures and polluted air, as they can help to filter out particles and pollutants from the incoming fresh air.

An ERV may not be necessary if your home is constructed with a tight envelope. If your home is not built with a sealed envelope, an ERV can help to improve the envelope by exchanging the air in the house. An ERV can be a cost-effective way to improve the efficiency of your home.