ERV or HRV, Which One Do I Need?

This is part 2 of a series that started with our last post titled “Is it worth installing an ERV or HRV?”. In that article from GAMA Air we explained the need for a proper amount of air exchange in a house for a healthy indoor environment. And we pointed out that bringing in fresh air can add to the load on a central heating and air conditioning system. In other words, although having fresh air is important, it adds to your utility costs. For that reason, having an Energy Recovery Ventilator or a Heat Recovery Ventilator (ERV or HRV) is worth it. It can reduce the amount of extra energy needed to condition that fresh air being brought into your home.

Now we’re going to move on to the next aspect: What makes and ERV different from an HRV. We hope this will help our friends and neighbors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area make an educated choice for their upcoming project.

What does a Heat Recovery Ventilator do?

The fan in an HRV pulls fresh outside air into a home while simultaneously exhausting stale indoor air. Both the fresh air stream and the stale air stream flow through a specially designed core. This core pulls heat from the warmer air stream and transfers it to the cooler air stream. If it is during the winter this means that the heat in your home is not entirely lost with the exhausted air. And if it is during the summer, then most of the heat from the fresh air is transferred to the air being exhausted. In the case of an HRV, this heat transfer occurs without any mixing of the two air streams.

What does an Energy Recovery Ventilator do?

The function of an ERV is very similar to that of an HRV, but there is a difference in the design of the core. In addition to doing what the HRV does, as described above, the core also allows some of the moisture in the more humid air stream to be transferred to the dryer air stream. This transfer of moisture occurs with very little mixing of the two air streams. In the winter, this means that some of the heat and humidity of the indoor air is transferred to the cooler, dryer outdoor air that is coming in. And in the summer, some of the heat and humidity of the warm, moist outdoor air is transferred to the conditioned air that is being exhausted outside.

ERV or HRV, which one do you need?

Here is a simple guide to choosing the appropriate unit for your home:

  • Do you have a large house in a cold climate? Then the ERV is for you.
  • Do you have a small, tightly sealed house in a cold climate? Then the HRV is for you.
  • Do you live in a hot, humid climate? Then either one will do we recommend the ERV since the long-term cost to operate it will be less than the operating cost of an HRV.
  • Do you live in a region with both extremes of weather, cold winters and hot and humid summers? Then either one will do.

The key to obtain maximum energy efficiency is a proper installation. If you go to the expense of purchasing an ERV or HRV you should insist on having a qualified and experienced contractor do the installation. Regardless of which one you choose to install, don’t penny pinch on the installation and end up with something you’ll regret. Choose the right contractor to make your investment worth your while.

The experienced staff at GAMA Air are willing to help you if you need help with your up-coming project to install an indoor air quality accessory, like an ERV or HRV. Give us a call at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to request a free visit with no obligation.

Need to ask us a quick question? Visit our Ask an Expert page and post your question along with how we can reach you and our resident HVAC expert will reply quickly!

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