If you have an HVAC system installed at your home, it sometimes becomes inefficient at heating or cooling your indoor air. Such especially happens if you do not meticulously follow an air conditioning service to keep the unit in a top functional state. HVAC maintenance is paramount if you want to enjoy the comfort of your heated or cooled air. But is maintenance the only way that you can do to ensure that the performance of your heating and air conditioning system remains optimal? Another thing you could do is to install an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) System.
ERVs are designed to enhance your HVAC system’s performance by taking that energy from the exhausted indoor air and then using it for preconditioning the incoming outside ventilation air. The preconditioning ensures the load on your air conditioning system is reduced while considerably reducing energy costs. But how do you know a unit is right for your home?
Besides consulting your air conditioning service provider, there are several other steps that you could take to help you determine or purchase an optimal system for the application. Performance and functional features are important when it comes to energy recovery systems. However, the maintenance, installation, and long-term durability considerations are also critical and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Why Install an Energy Recovery Ventilator?
The main reason for having an air conditioning service provider in Richardson, TX, install an ERV is to recover the energy whenever there’s a fresh air requirement in a building. As an HVAC system pumps the fresh air into your building, the conditioned air is pushed out to ensure a balanced air pressure in the house. Since the air leaving the house also has energy, this ingenious system recovers it. The energy in the conditioned air depends on the season. If it is in the summer, it will have cool energy, while in winter, it will have warm energy.
An energy recovery system can pull up to seventy percent or more of that energy from the air leaving your house and transfer it to the fresh incoming air. Capturing the air means that your heating and air conditioning system doesn’t have to put in as much effort as it would without an ERV. Hence, you will pay less in energy utility bills at the end of the month. You can also have an air conditioning service provider install a smaller HVAC system because the workload is shared with the ERV.
Besides saving energy, installing an energy recovery system helps reduce the carbon dioxide levels in your indoor air. The unit replaces the stale air indoors with fresh air that helps you and your family remain healthy. Since schools and offices have higher occupancy, they usually need a lot of fresh air. Hence, these settings are ideal for the installation of an ERV system. ERVs can also help dissipate any smells and manage the humidity levels at your home.
They will help keep the indoor air moist during the winter and dry it to the required humidity levels during summer. Therefore, by installing an energy recovery ventilator at your home, you will enjoy comfortable air while paying less energy utility bills. You will also not have to install a humidifier or dehumidifier because it will complement the HVAC system by removing any water from the air.
Factors To Consider Before Purchasing an ERV
The ERV specification and sizing are driven by the building codes, government policies, and regulations. It ensures that your ERV unit is large enough to meet energy efficiency and air movement standards. Different standards govern the air conditioning sector. For instance, the ASHRAE Standard 62.1 outlines the baseline or minimum standards for the volume of fresh air that an indoor space must have.
Hence, your air conditioning service provider in Richardson, TX, must know these standards and government regulations. The compatibility of other systems like the air handling units and HVAC systems that work with or compliment the ERV and ductwork arrangement are important considerations in the initial specification. Using online ERV calculating tools, air conditioning service providers can determine the right ERV configuration and size.
Performance and Functional Design
The first thing to consider before purchasing an ERV is the unit’s performance and functional design. A homeowner should consider the unit’s controls and its internal components. Are you planning to purchase a unit but do not know? You can consult an air conditioning service provider with experience dealing with such systems.
Energy Recovery Wheel
The main component of the ERV is its energy recovery wheel. The wheel rotates between the outdoor air streams and the exhaust, picking up moisture and heat from one airstream and transferring it to another. Some ARVs feature wheels having a stop-start-jog functionality, allowing the energy recovery ventilation unit to automatically shut off and enter economizer mode when the conditions outside are optimal.
Some wheels have been designed to pivot the airstream out, ensuring there’s no pressure drop and placing the energy recovery system into economizer mode. Upon detecting the indoor versus outdoor temperature, it adjusts accordingly. You will save a lot of energy by considering this feature, more of a reason to have a heating and air conditioning service provider install it at your Richardson, TX, home.
Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)
The next performance factor you must consider when choosing an energy recovery drive is a VFD or several drives. VFDs control the electric motor within the ERV (normally for the blower) to adjust the motor speed and reduce the amps used. Hence, it is an essential element that helps save energy. Additionally, a variable frequency drive ensures a better blower motor controls the incoming air. An additional benefit is selecting an energy recovery system that uses low-noise/silent blowers can also help reduce ambient noise. Hence, the unit will not be disruptive to the indoor settings. Hence, when consulting your air conditioning service provider, ask them about the VFDs.
The other important functional and performance feature to consider is communication. Communication controls which tie the ERV to the rest of your building & heating and air conditioning system are equally important. Today, most ERVs are equipped to communicate with your building management system (BMS). An air conditioning service provider can install an open-source protocol like the BACnet to ease integrating the BMS with the ERV. The communication protocol allows better and more functionality while the equipment manufacturer develops other electronic-based features.
Electronic Features and Sensors
To ensure enhanced functionality, the energy recovery ventilation systems are, in most instances, equipped with various electronic features and sensors for monitoring humidity, pressure, filter use, airflow, fresh air, and temperatures. Some ERV manufacturers also provide sensors that can detect the carbon dioxide levels in your indoor space and accordingly adjust the ERV.
Doing this reduces energy expenses while optimizing the building environment for the occupants. Further, selecting an energy recovery ventilation that can effectively communicate with a motorized intake damper that is separately installed provides an added level of airflow control, which means more energy efficiency. To enjoy these benefits, have your air conditioning service provider install the latest ERV at your school, business, commercial building, or home.
Impacts by Harsh Climates
The harsh climates also can have an impact on ERV specification. In cold environments, a low ambient kit or a pre-heater system may be used to prevent ice and frost buildup on your recovery module. Are you using a pre-heater system? The unit must have enough space between it and the ERV wheel. It allows the air to circulate smoothly and cool before hitting the wheel. Hence, this is something that you should leave the installation to a professional air conditioning service provider in Richardson, TX.
Some design specs might call for small indoor mini-energy recovery units ideal for addressing carbon dioxide levels and reducing humidity in your space. However, these units are very different from the outdoor models because they sometimes feature static core plates with fewer moving parts. With the static core units, rather than have a wheel move between air streams when transferring energy, the air streams crisscross in a series of core plates or channels.
These channels or plates cool or heat the air between them and transfer the energy. Static plates may be made from paper, metal, or plastic. However, paper cores have a downside in that they can easily deteriorate with time, compromising the IAQ in your building. When installing an external ERV, have your air conditioning service provider install core plates using 100% polymer construction for more durability.
Installation And Maintenance
You can install energy recovery ventilation systems during new construction or have an air conditioning service provider in Richardson, TX, retrofit them into your existing heating and air conditioning system. The installation difficulty levels depend on what type of ERV you are installing, the building configuration, and the location of the air ducts. The air conditioning service provider also can perform a diagnostic test immediately by interfacing the energy recovery ventilation’s communication controls to ensure that the system is properly installed and calibrated.
Unitized ERVs are a suitable option to be retrofitted to an existing HVAC system because they can be set up to use existing ductwork. Unitized ERVs are typically the most economical energy recovery products. They don’t require roof curbs or additional roof penetrations because they are directly mounted to the incoming air section of a bundled rooftop unit (RTU). Unitized ERVs can be adjusted to make installation quick and simple.
Additionally, these unitized ERVs frequently include integrated building communication controls to enable plug-and-play installation alongside existing HVAC systems. Maintaining an ERV should be done by a professional heating and air conditioning service provider. However, several design considerations can make maintenance even easier. For instance, removable panels offer easier access to the unit’s filters and wheels.
The ERV wheels are usually segmented into different pieces that can be removed individually, making cleaning the unit easier. Wheels that require the complete chassis to be removed for cleaning can lengthen maintenance times and may call for a qualified specialist. A stop-start-jog function, for example, enables maintenance staff to remotely clear moisture and clean the wheels in more modern versions. Wheels built of a non-cellulose-based material and a hydrophobic resin could be made durable and last virtually forever, saving time and money on replacement expenses.
Construction and Durability
Most energy recovery ventilation systems have a durability of about 20 years. However, some construction features could see the unit surpass the said lifespan. ERVs having double wall construction are more durable and have better thermal protection. Hence, they lose less energy when running. Further, such design features make these units quieter, meaning that your Richardson, TX, home, school, church, or commercial building will not experience noise pollution.
With many advancements in the ERV systems, you must consult an air conditioning service provider on the features of the newer systems. Since the professionals have been in the industry for a long time, they know all these developments. Hence, they can help you make a great choice. For outdoor applications where the wind is a problem, have an air conditioning service provider install an energy recovery ventilation system with hurricane-proof roofing curbs for additional protection.
Do you want to minimize air conditioning service and ensure you pay fewer monthly heating and cooling bills? Then installing an ERV seems like a sound investment. Besides reducing the cooling and heating costs, it also ensures that your indoor settings are healthier by regulating the humidity and removing the carbon dioxide from the air. However, there are several considerations that you must make before choosing an ERV, as explained above. From durability, maintenance requirements, and performance to longevity, there are many reasons to contact an AC repair technician for advice before you purchase an ERV. Do you want an ERV installed in your Richardson, TX, space? Contact us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas today.