Heat recovery systems are a popular, energy
saving technology being installed in buildings all across the country. But
while it is fast growing in popularity, there are still many who know nothing
about it, even if it could result in significant energy savings and better,
cleaner air. So, what is heat recovery
exactly, and why should you consider it for your home? Let’s take a deeper look
at the technology behind it, what it does, and a few rare cases when this
technology might not be the best suited for your home.
What is Heat Recovery?
Heat recovery systems are designed to capture
the heat from air that is being expelled from your home to heat the fresh air
coming into it. The reverse is true in the summer. The air coming into your
home is cooled by the air exiting your home. This reduces the amount of energy
required to heat or cool your home during both seasons.
How Do Heat Recovery Systems
A heat recovery system doesn’t involve
fancy equipment, and it doesn’t require you to replace your existing heating
system. Instead, it can work within your ventilation system. In each room of
your house, there are ventilation ducts that bring fresh air in and take stuffy
air out. These ducts connect to the heat exchanger that exchanges heat between
the incoming and outgoing air before the outgoing air is vented into the
atmosphere. The heat exchanger simply exchanges heat so that the incoming air
is almost at the same temperature as the outgoing air.
The outgoing and incoming air will not mix
with each other. This means that you don’t have to choose between energy
efficiency and feeling stuffy. Instead, stale air is pushed outside while up to
90 percent of the heat in it is transferred to the incoming air.
Why Should I Consider Heat
Recovery for My Home?
One of the biggest benefits of MVHR, or
mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, is that it provides a steady stream
of filtered fresh air to your home without wasting the energy used to heat or
cool it. Home heat recovery systems can exchange the air in your home every two
hours or so. Trickle vents may exchange less than one percent of your home’s
air per hour. The end result is that you get fresher air and less allergens
floating into the house.
An MVHR system can be great for clearing dander, chemical residues, and dust out of the air in your home. And you won’t end up bringing in pollen and pollutants like you would if you just opened a window. The constant stream of air also keeps the air vents in your home clean. Cobwebs and mold can’t grow inside your air vents. Any bad odors or chemical sprays are quickly eliminated as well.
This is especially important when considering the recent “sick house syndrome” epidemic we’re seeing all over the country. Sick house or building syndrome is when inhabitants start experiencing health issues because of some underlying condition with the house, such as mold for instance. Not only does MVHR technology prevent mold from forming, but it clear spores from the air as well.
Another point in favor of heat recovery systems is that it is a green technology. You aren’t wasting warm stale air by venting it outside when you bring in fresh air. That heat is recovered as you bring in fresh air. You won’t work the boiler or heater as hard keeping your home warm in the winter, though an MVHR system won’t eliminate the need for them altogether. And you can save even more energy with these systems, because you can control the air exchange rate. Lower the air exchange rate, and you may not have to run the radiators very long at night.
In larger buildings, an MVHR system will
help you keep the temperature in the entire building at the same comfortable
temperature. It pulls heat from hot rooms like kitchens or wet rooms and
distributes it evenly across the building, and it eliminates the cold spots
that arise in inefficient systems where those downstream receive little heat.
This reduces the temptation for employees to open the window to let in fresh
air or turn on small heaters to get warm.
Another benefit of heat recovery systems is
that they move the large volume of air and exchange the heat without the noisy
mechanical fans that are otherwise required. This may make your home or
workplace much quieter.
Condensation prevention is reason enough for homeowners to consider buying one. The average family exhales fifteen liters of moisture into the air as they breathe, cook, shower and do laundry. In the typical home, most of that moisture remains trapped inside the home. This can foster mold growth, and lead to peeling wallpaper and condensation pooling where it can cause structural damage. A heat recovery system’s steady stream of fresh air eliminates this excess moisture. You can use the heat exchanger as a dehumidifier in the winter too.
When Isn’t a Heat Recovery
System a Good Idea?
A heat recovery system is ideal when the building is fully insulated and all the little places where warm air can escape are sealed. If you’re in an older leaky home, you probably shouldn’t get a heat recovery system until the home is better sealed. If the doors and windows of your building are always open, an MVHR system may not be a good idea. A heat recovery system is a logical choice for newer, eco-friendly buildings.
In large industrial buildings, a heat recovery system may already be fitted into the condensing boiler. Older boilers probably have a flue economizer but may benefit from being fitted with a heat recovery system.
Heat recovery systems correct the poor indoor air quality that has resulted from the tightly insulated and poorly ventilated homes we’ve built. They’re also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, energy consumption, and cut on costs. If you feel like a heat recovery system could be a good option, we suggest you speak with a professional so that you know which options are open to you.
Lots of us are now choosing to work from home. This could be for practical reasons, such as when we have small children to look after, but also for financial; many people are choosing to start their own home businesses after being made redundant, for example. As you would expect, energy costs are higher when you are at home all day, so we have come up with a list of tips that should help you to reduce the price of your energy bills. All are suitable for home office workers, but many can be implemented in traditional office environments as well.
1. Switch to LED Lighting
Making the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED could save you as much as 50% on the cost of lighting your office. LEDs require smaller amounts of energy to work, yet they still provide the same brightness as traditional light bulbs. While they are a more expensive investment, they tend to last for much longer – in some cases, as long as ten years – so over time, they more than pay for themselves. They can also significantly improve the aesthetics of a room.
2. Upgrade to a Heat Recovery System
Heat recovery systems are becoming especially popular in commercial environments, but they can also be purchased for home offices (and residential properties in general) as well. They are much more energy efficient than traditional heating systems, and ensure your office remains at a consistent temperature. They also provide a better air environment, which is exactly what you need when stuck at home all day. You can find out more about them via this link: https://www.bpcventilation.com/commercial-heat-recovery.
3. Invest in Energy Saving Devices
When starting a home business, it can be tempting to invest in second hand equipment to save money. But while this is okay, it’s a good idea to check out the energy rating of any items that you buy. Products with a good energy rating may be more expensive upfront, but over time will lead to large savings on your energy bills. You could also hire an energy auditor to come to your home or office and advise you on ways to cut costs. Everything from your work PC to your photocopier should be considered.
4. Consider External Forces
If your desk is situated close to the window, during the summer months you may feel like you need to turn on an air conditioner or fan to keep cool. Both of these can lead to high energy costs, which could be prevented by moving your desk to a cooler area of the room, or by installing blinds to block the heat. During the winter, you’ll want to consider insulation. Gaps around windows and doors can easily let cool air in, leading to your heating system needing to work overtime to keep your work area warm. Adding weather stripping or caulking could help to improve this.
If you work from home, keep the above advice in mind. You’ll soon start to see large savings on your energy bills.
There’s more to climate control in your home than temperature and humidity. The stabilization of your home’s climate is something that keeps everyone comfortable with no unwelcome changes. To maintain an optimum level, a properly functioning heating and air conditioning system keeps everything within reasonable bounds. Your HVAC equipment needs to be up to the task at all times. Proper maintenance can give you continuous service and avoid problems that many times crop up at the worst possible moment.
Care and Maintenance
First and foremost, it helps if you keep an eye out for things you can do to minimize problems before they occur. The following is a list of maintenance recommendations for the homeowner:
1. Check the outside unit to remove debris like rocks, sticks and leaves.
2. Clean the outside unit of mud, snow and bird droppings.
3. Vacuum the reachable ducts behind the wall filter.
4. Vacuum the coil behind the blower assembly.
5. Vacuum under the inside unit, inside the enclosure.
6. Change the wall filter if you think it might have fouled prematurely.
This is basic but could ward off intermittent problems. Nevertheless, the system is too complicated for anything more, and regular service by a qualified technician is recommended. Most maintenance tasks performed by a technician are done twice a year and include:
1. Replace filters.
2. Clean evaporator and condenser coils.
3. Treat coils with an antimicrobial agent to ward off mold.
4. Check space around air ducts.
5. Inspect fan, bearings and belts.
On an annual basis, leaks in cabinets and the supply duct need to be checked along with dampers. All air ducts should be cleaned at least every two years.
Rewards of Keeping up Regular Service
Proper heating and air conditioning service can have a positive effect on your family’s health. When the filters and ducts are clean, allergens and unwanted dust are kept out. Dirt buildup in an HVAC system is a culprit in many respiratory diseases. Also of critical importance is energy efficiency. A poorly maintained HVAC system works harder to move hot or cold air and costs more. Clogged filters can pass contaminated mold-inducing air. Emergency cleaning causes a drain on your budget.
Another energy-wasting practice is improper control of your home’s temperature. Waiting until everyone is shivering or sweating before turning on the system makes it work harder in heating or cooling as it attempts to match the temperature you’ve set. Even playing with the settings can cause the machinery to turn on and off unnecessarily. Your best bet is to set a comfortable temperature and let the system make minute adjustments to maintain a high level of comfort.
Good heating and cooling systems are essential to the comfort level of any indoor space. No one wants to roast in the summer or freeze in the winter. The indoors should be a refuge from unpleasant weather. But how much does and HVAC installation cost?
The average cost of an HVAC installation depends mostly on the size of your house. The bigger your house is, the more itâ€™s going to cost. If youâ€™re starting fresh with a completely brand new system, it will be more expensive that if youâ€™re reusing some old parts. HVAC installations can involve replacing air conditioning units, heating units, ducts, or even switching to a new type of system. Also, like most things, where you live affects the cost as well. Getting HVAC installed will cost more on the east and west coasts than it will in less expensive areas.
In general, an HVAC installation in a 1,300 square foot house should cost somewhere between $3,500 to $5,000. The best thing to do is to shop around and get estimates from local contractors. Once you have 4 to 5 estimates youâ€™ll be able to get a better idea of the fair market price in your region. Usually, somewhere around $4,000 is generally a reasonable price for an HVAC installation in a medium sized home.
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