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Ventilation for Designing Better Buildings

10 Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) System Planning Tips

Posted by Dustin DeTorres

Nov 20, 2014 9:38:00 PM

1. Heat recovery is a system- the HRV unit and air distribution components

  • It’s the proper combination of these two elements that delivers the needed ventilation in the home.
  • Properly matched distribution components are important for the best thermal efficiency, lowest electrical consumption and quietness of the HRV system.

2. Ducting is just as important as the unit itself

  • Efficiency and airflow performance
  • Speed and ease of installation
  • Noise transfer around the home
  • Occupant comfort and health

3. Plan adequate HRV/ ERV unit and distribution tubing space allocation 

  • Plan a space for the HRV/ERV unit and also account for needed access inside the walls and ceilings for air distributing tubing throughout the building   
  • Open trusses work fine


4. Locate the system within the thermal enclosure

  • Consider near an outside wall to keep the intake and exhaust runs as short as possible

5. Don’t confuse the Heat Recovery Ventilation System with the Heating and Cooling System 

  • The HRV or ERV will greatly reduce heating and cooling loads but a supplemental heating or cooling system is still needed.

6. HRV should be separate from central HVAC system.  Some of the limitations of tying in with central HVAC system include:

  • Improper balance between fresh and extract air 
  • Decreases transfer efficiency
  • Provides adequate ventilation to rooms when the large central HVAC fan is running which is generally only a portion of the year

7. Look for HRVs/ERVs with low energy consumption

  • As an example, Zehnder’s CA 350 HRV typically uses the energy consumption of less than a 40 watt light bulb  

8. Research 3rd party testing results and customer satisfaction

9. Consider the HRV/ERV as part of a system approach for a high-performance building     

  • Remember air sealing, insulation, windows and other important factors for a high-performance building.

10. Take advantage of Zehnder’s complimentary system design service


Want more info on Zehnder America? Call 888.778.6701

Topics: Heat Recovery Ventilators, System Design, Energy Recovery Ventilators, Energy-Efficiency, Design/Building Science, Others