Beyond improving your heating and cooling systems to bring your family ultimate comfort, these are 3 steps that are also commonly taken to make sure your entire home is as energy efficient as it can be:
- Improve insulation and seal air leaks
- Seal ductwork, ensuring it is proper connection/insulation
- Energy audits to see a “big picture” view of the home, including areas where energy efficiency could improve
What to Know About Energy Audits
Often times we can describe how the air in our home feels—and we can see evidence of air leaks or insulation issues with our energy bill, but an energy audit gives us diagnostic testing to make recommendations we know will help.
Energy audits help you see how your home uses energy and in what ways you can reduce that consumption. We want to ensure you are not wasting energy—or said another way, not wasting your money. Again, beyond looking at your heating and cooling system, other steps can be taken to decrease consumption, including sealing of air leaks, sealing of ductwork, replacing of windows, and installation of renewable energy systems.
Another layer of complexity is that just because a home is designed in a way that is energy-conscious, doesn’t mean your getting the highest air quality that you’re after.
For example, if you have a highly efficient HVAC, you’ve improved your insulation and sealed your ductwork throughout the home, and you know you have no need to replace windows in your home, that actually may mean your home could have limited ventilation. In other words, many homeowners find that a trade-off can exist between energy-efficient measures and the kind of ventilation your home has. Ventilation is important because it helps us better manage and eliminate particles in the air, so if we limit our ventilation too much, that can affect our air quality.
One Solution: Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV)
But this is where Heat Recovery Ventilators can be of use. Take for example when the temperature gets especially low and your heating system runs constantly for days at a time. Many of us will experience a stuffy house, or certain rooms that seem to have air that is more stale than normal.
The problem is if we were to open a window or door—even just for a few minutes at a time—you’re quickly losing valuable heat. You’re also not necessarily bringing more healthy air into the home. Instead, you’re opening your home up to allergens and pollutants and therefore you’re not necessarily improving air quality at all.
Second, opening up a door or looking to rely on a fan is not actually going to evenly deal with the air in your home, and it’s certainly not a whole-house solution. In the end, turning on a fan or relying on opening a window or a door is not an effective or practical way to get rid of the stale air that you’re experiencing.
What many people with very airtight homes incorporate is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), which is specifically designed to transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air as ventilation occurs. The result is that you can breathe fresh new air and you no longer have certain places in your house with air that’s uncomfortable or unhealthy for you and your family. With this solution, you haven’t “undone” all the sealing or insulation that you’ve worked hard for: you can still save money, but also avoid any stale or stuffy air.
Consider how normally, when ventilating air from your home, a fan blows air out of the house and vents allow new air in to offset the pressure change. This works well when the temperature outside is mild and your HVAC system is not on. However, when it is very cold (or very warm), your HVAC system turns on and the ventilation process removes conditioned air, replacing it with outside air, which is either too hot or too cold.
A Heat Recovery Ventilator can use a heat exchanger to retain heat in whichever environment you want it to be. For example, during this time of year, a Heat Recovery Ventilator will transfer indoor air into a chamber where heat is then transferred to outdoor air. In summary, the stale air can be removed from your home, air is circulated back into the home, and energy is not wasted.
Call us to Learn More about Natural Ventilation
Installation of a heat recovery ventilator can be a simple process. Because you’ll want to take into account your entire home’s energy use and design, it’s best when done by an experienced professional. Call us today at 859-491-4915 or toll free at 844-491-4915 to learn more about a Heat Recovery Ventilator that will keep your air fresh without inviting all the pollen, pollutants, and allergens into your home.