What should I be looking for when shopping for a heat recovery ventilator? I understand what they do but I don’t know how I should go about choosing the right one.

Anonymous Dec. 11, 2017, 1:07 p.m.


Responses (1)

Ecohome Dec. 11, 2017, 1:12 p.m.

Choosing the right heat recovery ventilator should be based on the following criteria:

  • Unit size according to the air volume of the house that will have to be replaced every hour (ventilation capacity), measured in CFMs, or cubic feet per minute
  • Performance, or heat recovery rate – meaning the percentage of heat recovered from exhaust air
  • The decibel level of the unit to avoid noise pollution in homes if it is near living areas
  • Motor efficiency
  • Warranty

Calculating the fresh air requirements of a home as well as proper placement of ducts are not easy calculations to make, so this is best left to licenced HVAC installers. All too often a DIY ventilation job or one done by an overly-confident but inexperienced general contractor will lead to either pressurization or depressurization of the home, too much air or too little, and some rooms not having enough ventilation.

HRV units should never be placed in attics, to function properly and efficiently they should be within the conditioned space with other mechanical equipment. Duct work should also be on the warm side of the insulation. Please also see our page on choosing between an HRV and ERV, a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator.