It’s not quite full spring weather yet here in Staten Island, but it’s definitely the time to start preparing for it. One of the essential steps is to schedule maintenance for your air conditioning system or heat pump so that it’s ready to go when the first heat hits.
But you can also take this time to help improve ventilation for the summer. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern living that houses are so well sealed against the outdoor weather to help them stay energy efficient that they don’t allow for proper fresh air circulation. But if you open up the windows in your house during the summer, what happens? Yes, heat comes in along with the fresh air, and that’s uncomfortable. You can blast the AC to try to overcome the heat, but then your electric bills start to rise.
There is a solution to this problem you can have installed in your ventilation system before summer heat arrives: the energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
What’s an energy recovery ventilator
The “ventilation” part may make sense—you want better ventilation for your house—but what is the energy recovery part? How does that help you enjoy fresher air in your house without allowing in the heat?
What an energy recovery ventilator does is allow hot, fresh air into the ventilation system and then pre-cool it using air inside the house. This is a transfer of energy: the heat from the outside air transfers to the outgoing indoor air. The air inside has been cooled by the air conditioner, and the originally energy used to cool that air is recovered when it’s used to cool down the incoming hot air.
How this actually works inside the energy recovery ventilator is that the two currents of air—the fresh, hot outdoor air and the stale, cool indoor air—run through the ERV so that heat moves from one current to the other. This is called counter flow heat exchange. It also transfers moisture between the two currents, so the ERV helps to balance indoor humidity.
The benefits of an ERV
In general, an energy recovery ventilator recovers 80% of the energy that would have gone to waste if you had simply opened up the house to the outdoors. This means you’ll enjoy fresher air, with most of the stale air exhausted outside, without having to pay much higher air conditioning bills.
Perhaps best of all, an ERV works in winter as well! You can use an energy recovery ventilator all around the year. During a chilly winter day, cold air flows into the ERV and gains heat from the warm indoor air. The fresh air arrives pre-heated in the home, removing the strain off the heating system.
You must have a professional HVAC technician in Staten Island, NY install an ERV for your house. This is a complex device and must be integrated into the ventilation system to work properly. The technician can also help you choose between an energy recovery ventilator and the similar but still different heat recovery ventilator. You’ll end up with the best unit for your needs.
Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning: Serving Staten Island’s Heating and A/C needs since 1955.