Are HRV’s Worth It?

Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) have become pretty popular within the last decade and are mandatory on all new home builds or large renovations on your home in Manitoba. Question is, why? Especially when the home you bought never came with one and you’ve been getting by without one so far. So why bother? Are HRV’s worth it? Although there are many answers to that question, perhaps the best answer is: Yes, it can improve your quality of life.

We spend a lot of our resources trying to make our home the most comfortable place we can. A place we can call our own, lay our head and, most of all, feel safe. It is a pretty ironic statistic that on average we let the air in our home become 15 times more polluted than the air outside!

The following is directly from the EPA’s website:

Effects on Human Health

Health effects associated with indoor air pollutants include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.

The link between some common indoor air pollutants (e.g., radon, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, Legionella bacterium) and health effects is very well established.

  • Radon is a known human carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
  • Carbon monoxide is toxic, and short-term exposure to elevated carbon monoxide levels in indoor settings can be lethal.
  • Episodes of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by exposure to the Legionella bacterium, have been associated with buildings with poorly maintained air conditioning or heating systems.
  • Numerous indoor air pollutants—dust mites, mold, pet dander, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach allergens, particulate matter, and others—are “asthma triggers,” meaning that some asthmatics might experience asthma attacks following exposure.

An HRV can help with each one!

Excess humidity in the home can lead to all sorts of health issues believe it or not, or VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). There are so many causes of irritants in the home and most, if handled correctly, wouldn’t be a problem. Almost everything in our home gives off gases which leach into our homes air, carpet, furniture, and paint. Excessive humidity even helps aid in this “off gassing”, not to mention assisting with mold growth and mites.

Radon gas seeps into our homes from the ground and even the exhaust from our dryers and water tanks and other appliances can produce an extremely irritating situation which can sometimes be very harmful and at times even fatal. All the while, we ensure our homes are sealed tighter and tighter and more and more efficient but, in doing so, we also lock out the fresh oxygen enriched air and we bottle up these toxins in our living space. 

These serious issues and even undesirable smells in your home can create an environment that leaves a lot to be desired, especially for a place we wish to call home.

So, the question…is an HRV worth it? I would have to answer with a resounding YES. The last couple of decades we have concentrated our efforts in closing all the gaps where drafts can creep in but we have overlooked their benefits. It’s just that now we control where that ‘drafting’ happens, how much it happens and how efficiently that happens. I do not believe it is a question of ‘IF’ an HRV is worth it as much as it is a question of “how can we expect our home to be comfortable without one”?

  • Do you find anyone in your home with itchy water eyes, irritations, headaches or fatigue? 
  • Any respiratory or asthma like issues?

If you live in or around Winnipeg, and you’re questioning the ventilation for your home, give us a call for a free in-home consultation.