Heat Recovery Ventilators - Everything you Need to Know

What is a heat recovery ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator or HRV as it’s also known relies on the fundamentals of thermodynamics to extract and transfer heat from ventilated air.  The mechanism that this principle works on is usually hidden within ductwork or equipment that is out of sight, JDC Mechanical can help you to identify your HRV and other HVAC equipment if required.  Essentially, a heat recovery ventilator is a box shaped piece of equipment with inlets and outlets of warm fresh air and stale, moist exhaust air.  The two flows of air will intersect within the HRV allowing for heat transfer to occur and to maximize efficiency of your ventilation system.

Heat recovery ventilator calgary
A technician preparing ductwork for HRV installation

Are heat recovery systems worth it?

Yes, always but it will sometimes be cost prohibitive depending on the age of the ductwork and your current HVAC configuration, to install.  Most new homes and even some high efficiency HVAC systems will include a HRV, built right in.  A heat recovery ventilator increases the efficiency rating of a HVAC system which results in lower monthly utility costs and over time it will often pay for itself, time and time again. 

For buildings with large ductwork infrastructure, a HRV can create even flow of air coming from heat registers and reduce strain on a central blower.  At time of writing, fresh air exchanges are pivotal in keeping your property safe for all occupants to help lower risk of exposure to COVID, the popularity of recovery ventilators have risen sharply in 2020 and will continue to remain strong to prevent further viral outbreaks.

Ventilation Ductwork Calgary
Ductwork Architecture w/ HRV

How to care for your heat recovery ventilator?

Annual maintenance and cleaning are two basic ways for a property owner to keep all of their HVAC equipment running well.  For a HRV specifically and depending on location, cleaning of the surrounding ductwork and HRV can bring massive long term benefits.  Often there are only heat transfer plates and sometimes fans inside of a heat recovery ventilator with no combustion.  Annual visual inspection within the unit to check for corrosion, fan operation and potential dislodging of the inlet and outlet ducts are some of the common problems to watch out for.

How much does a HRV cost?

Costs for homeowners will vary from about $500 for lower end equipment all the way up to $1750 for larger and more specialized ventilators.  For commercial HRV’s please contact us, we can assist you in finding an economical and effective option.  The price range above does not account for installation and we offer reconfiguration of ductwork if required.

What is an energy recovery ventilator (ERV)?

An ERV is similar is operation and design to a HRV.  The primary difference is that an ERV also extracts moisture from the stale, moist exhaust air and blends it with the fresh warm air flow.  Typically a HRV will have no mechanism to achieve balanced indoor humidity and is reserved for buildings/climates with high humidity but for the dry winters of Calgary, an ERV will promote optimal humidity for your indoor space!  ERV and HRV are used interchangeably in some cases.  This confusion for installing a HRV in a dry climate is that there may be auxiliary humidifiers installed in the system, so extraction of the moist air isn’t necessary.  Nonetheless, contact us for further consultation and we can help you determine the correct equipment required for your property to tap into cost savings.

Property owners in Calgary are seeking economical, qualified, reliable and honest HVAC service. JDC Mechanical is not only red seal certified we also have over 25 years of experience to handle all of your commercial HVAC equipment installation and service needs.