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HRV vs ERV, What Is the Best Option For You?

Fresh indoor air is improved with either a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) installation, but deciding which is best for your home and current HVAC system can be confusing. Understand the difference between the two to make a wise investment for your home and indoor air quality.

What Do They Do and How Do They Work:

Ventilators are used to pull fresh air into a home while pulling stale air back out.  The fresh air is typically delivered to the living room or bedrooms, and the stale air is removed from the laundry room, bathrooms, and at times, the kitchen. Both ERVs and HRVs reduce stress on your HVAC system, which boosts your unit’s efficiency and life expectancy. Ventilators help your home and HVAC system by:

  • Lowering your humidity levels indoors
  • Removing odors and fumes from your indoor air
  • Diluting indoor air pollution inside your home
  • Providing enough fresh air to keep your family healthy

Heat Recovery Ventilator Installation:

A heat recovery ventilator installation pulls both fresh air and stale air from your home through its core, transferring the majority of the heat from the warmer exhaust air to the incoming cooler air. The HRV uses a heat exchanger that prevents the two air streams from mixing. During the hotter months, the warm air coming in is cooled by the air conditioning inside, and during the colder months, the heat from indoors is transferred to the cold fresh air coming in. The HRV recovers lost energy while providing your home with fresh air and exhausting stale air without mixing the two types of air.

Heat Recovery Ventilators are best for:

  • Homes where humidity is lower during the warm months
  • Small homes with colder climates and more occupants

Energy Recovery Ventilator Installation:

Installing an ERV does the same thing as a heat recovery ventilator, but it also transfers moisture to and from the air depending on the season. The air streams have to mix slightly for the moisture to be pulled from one stream and added to the other but the cross-contamination rate is usually below 10% and is barely noticed. This type of ventilator is commonly used in warmer climates where humidity is an issue. Just be aware, an ERV is not a dehumidifier. It just helps transfer moisture not reduce moisture in your indoor air as a whole-home dehumidifier does.

An energy recovery ventilator installation is best for:

  • Humid climates where the ERVs can transfer moisture during the cooling season
  • Large homes with fewer occupants in colder climates

How To Decide:

If you live in an area where the climate is well-balanced, either ventilator will work well for your home. The most important factor for the ventilator you choose is the installation. You should hire a licensed professional who knows the ins and outs of both types of ventilators and which will be the best for your current HVAC system. Douglas Cooling & Heating employs only the best technicians who are NATE-certified, experienced, and knowledgeable about the latest technological advancements in the HVAC industry.


If you aren’t 100% sure which ventilator is right for you, call the professionals at Douglas Cooling & Heating! We will help you decide which ventilator is best for you and your current HVAC system. Whether it’s a heat recovery ventilator installation or an energy recovery ventilator installation, our NATE-certified professionals will fill your home with fresher air in no time!

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