How does the RenewAire ERV ventilation system work?
A RenewAire ERV ventilation system is based upon a simple principal - bring equal amounts of healthier, fresh air into a building while exhausting the same amount out, and do this in the best energy efficient manner as possible.This "balanced" approach maintains the building under "neutral" or balanced pressure, avoiding driving humidity into the building through building voids in the summer or pulling cold air into the building in the winter through the same mechanism.This equal "in" verses "out" can be accomplished with simple fans.However, why simply throw out the warmed / humidified or cooled / dehumidified air that took so much energy to condition to indoor comfort levels?This is where the remarkable RenewAire static plate energy exchanger comes into play.
The RenewAire static plate, air-to-air exchanger transfers both heat and water vapor into or out of the incoming fresh outdoor air, moderating winter/summer temperature and humidity extremes year-round for maximum indoor living comfort at substantial energy savings.Rather than simply bringing in raw outdoor air, as in a fan only ventilation system, its advanced hydroscopic resin plates transfer both heat and water vapor from the exhaust air to precondition the ventilation air using the available energy in the exhaust air leaving the building.During summer, hot/humid ventilation air is pre-conditioned using the relatively cool / dry exhaust air.During winter, ventilation air is pre-heated / humidified using the relatively warmer / wetter exhaust air.This is all accomplished passively.Advantages over a fan only ventilation system is that the use of this exchanger substantially reduces air conditioning and heating energy costs on an ongoing basis while reducing the size of heating and cooling equipment required to condition ventilation air in new construction or replacement situations.
What will a RenewAire ERV do for me when installed in my home?
Most importantly, it will give you cleaner air to breathe, letting you and your family feel better and healthier. It will do so in the most consistent, controlled, safe, and energy-efficient manner possible. In winter, the RenewAire system will control damaging high humidity in the home.RenewAire also controls the difference in air pressure between the inside and the outside of the home. It reduces the amount of cold air entering the house around doors, windows, and other leaks, all of which can give you a cold, uncomfortable feeling.Now all the ventilation air brought into your home is directed into your heating ductwork or to a central location. At the same time, the RenewAire ERV system is made to recapture most of the energy that would otherwise be lost through ordinary ventilation.
What will a RenewAire ERV do for me when applied at my business?
International Mechanical Code, ASHRAE, state and local code recognize the need to protect workers and patrons alike in commercial, government, institutional, and other non-residential facilities from indoor pollution, which is widely recognized as a serious environmental hazard.RenewAire ERV ventilation systems can provide balanced, mechanical ventilation to meet or exceed these requirements in a sensible, low maintenance, energy conscience manner.
RenewAire ERV ventilation systems are compatible with all types of heating and cooling equipment and we can work with you and your contractor to size the right system for your next retrofit, remodel or new construction project.Wherever a fresh airstream can come close to an exhaust airstream, RenewAire can be applied.
Is a RenewAire ERV also an air filter?
Filters work by pulling fine, air-borne particles out of an air stream. Some filters are very good at removing particles from air, but filters can't pull gas pollutants out of the air. The RenewAire ERV ventilation system controls indoor gas pollutants by bringing in outside air. The filters inside RenewAire ERV system are there strictly to prevent fouling of the RenewAire air-to-air, static-plate energy exchange core. Even the best filter, if installed as part of a RenewAire system, can only screen out the particles coming from outside. In most installations, RenewAire systems bring in only small amounts of air-borne particles. The other sources for dust, pollen, and other air-born particles (many inside the home) are much more significant.
People who are concerned about removing fine particles from the air in their homes need to use high-efficiency (HEPA) filters on their furnaces, which treat a high volume of household air. That is the only way to effectively deal with particles in the air inside the home.
Are RenewAire's ERVs certified by an independent testing agency?
RenewAire products currently carry certification from both HVI and AHRI. The Home Ventilating Institute HVI has tested and certifies the performance of residential units for approximately 10 years. HVI uses the Canadian CSA 439 test protocol. This tests for airflow, temperature and total (heat and humidity) efficiency, cross leakage, and low temperature (-13°F) performance. RenewAire not only passed these tests to achieve certification, but also rates among the highest performing products in all categories. RenewAire uses one of the largest energy-recovery cores in the industry, relative to airflow rate.
And our plate spacing is very close (the plates are the dividers that separate the air passages and transfer energy from exhaust air to fresh air). That means we can pack a lot of exchange area into a small volume. Most other manufacturers use smaller elements with larger plate spacing. This is a major reason why RenewAire efficiency is among the highest tested.
In January of 2001, certified test results from AHRI-1060 for RenewAire products were first published. RenewAire uses the well recognized AHRI certification process for all RenewAire commercial products. When reviewing RenewAire ERV ventilation systems against competing brands, insist on comparing us only to HVI or AHRI certified products from within those brands. Companies can make many claims, independent certification backs up those claims.
Are RenewAire's products UL-listed?
In 1986 a RenewAire unit was the first HRV to be tested under UL's special category for Ducted Heat Recovery Ventilators. All our residential products, and the majority of our commercial products continue to be UL Listed. Our factory is regularly inspected by UL, as part of an ongoing safety and quality inspection program.
What kind of warranty protection is available from RenewAire?
RenewAire provides a ten-year warranty on the core. All other components carry a five-year warranty for residential products and a two-year warranty for commercial products.
If RenewAire's ERVs recover moisture, can I still get rid of excess winter humidity in my home?
RenewAire's ERVs are effective at controlling excess winter humidity in tight houses because they don't recover all of the moisture from the exhaust air. The RenewAire energy exchange core is designed to recover less moisture than heat, so plenty of excess moisture is exhausted out of the house. And because cold weather air is very dry, the long-term effect is making the house drier. Excess winter humidity is one of the top problems people solve with RenewAire. Studies show that enthalpic-transfer (transfers both heat and humidity) air-to-air exchange ventilators like RenewAire, when operated at the ventilation rates recommended to control poor indoor air quality, have plenty of moisture-removal capability in cold climates.
What does moisture transfer do for me and my home in the summer?
Plenty! When ventilating in the summer, the challenge is to keep the excess moisture in the outside air from coming in. That is the opposite of the situation in the winter, when ventilation can be used to get rid of excess moisture generated inside the house. If the air inside the home is drier than the outside air, for instance when using air-conditioning, the RenewAire static plate, air-to-air exchanger core transfers much of the excess moisture from the incoming ventilation air to the outgoing exhaust air. This reduces both the excess heat content as well as the excess moisture content of summer ventilation air by about two-thirds, overall. Without the moisture transfer feature, the moisture content would rarely be reduced at all.
Since dehumidification is a major part of the work an air-conditioning system performs, this excess moisture reduction feature is critical in maintaining the energy efficiency of summer-time ventilation, especially in humid climates. In typical hot weather, humidity may represent 60% of the energy that needs to be removed from outside air. Other products that can't control this humidity perform very poorly in the summer, compared to RenewAire ERV ventilation systems.
Will RenewAire ERVs dehumidify my house in the summer if I'm not using air-conditioning?
The dehumidification effect that RenewAire ERV ventilation systems provide in the winter is absent or very minor in the summer. In a house without air-conditioning, the water content of the air inside and outside of the house is virtually the same, so air exchange won't provide any humidity control, although it will reduce other indoor air pollutants. Of course, if the RenewAire ERV ventilation system is set up to exhaust from the bathrooms, you can use it for that purpose year-round.
So should I use the RenewAire ERV ventilation system with my home's air conditioning?
RenewAire ERV ventilation systems work very well with air-conditioning - much better than sensible, or heat only, air-to-air exchangers. As in the winter, if you keep your house closed up tight (as you should when air-conditioning), indoor air quality will suffer. The only real difference between winter and summer is that air-conditioning systems do have some moisture-removal capability, unlike heating systems. Exactly how much water the air-conditioner will remove depends on system size and operation. If you operate your air-conditioning system day after day, keeping your home closed up tight, you should use your RenewAire ERV system to ventilate. It will bring in fresh air, just as it does in the winter. The fresh air from the RenewAire ERV ventilation system will be warmer and moister than the house air, but yet cooler and drier than the outside air. As in the winter, the operating cost to ventilate with a RenewAire ERV ventilation system will be very low.
Finally, some people like to use RenewAire ERVs in the summer just so they can ventilate without opening windows, either for security or to avoid rain coming in open windows. That works well, and RenewAire always allows you to bring in fresh air that is as close as possible to your inside air temperature and humidity.
I have a spa room in my house, and the only pollutant I'm worried about is humidity. Do I have to use the moisture recovery feature?
Spa rooms and pool enclosures are two of the rare applications where ventilation systems that don't transfer or recover moisture are a better choice. As a rule of thumb, if a spa room is less than one-third of the total ventilation exhaust air volume, a RenewAire ERV ventilation system can still be a good choice.
What is the RenewAire ERV static plate, energy exchange core made of?
The RenewAire ERV ventilation system core is a carefully designed, highly engineered resin composite material, developed over forty years ago specifically for energy-recovery ventilation systems. It resembles corrugated paper, but it really isn't - any more than the high-tech tires on modern cars resemble the rubber in pencil erasers. The RenewAire material has been imitated, but its optimized balance of high heat transfer and excellent moisture transfer, laminar airflow through the core, no cross contamination, and short lead time availability has never been reproduced.
RenewAire's hydroscopic resins act as highly selective molecular "conveyer belts" or "water pipes", that carry water vapor as individual molecules from one side of each heat transfer membrane, or plate material, to the other. Another way to think of how RenewAire works is as a special type of window material. Glass in a window lets both light and heat enter your home, while keeping out dirt and outside air. The material in RenewAire's ERV core lets through heat and water vapor, but doesn't let air or other gases through. Installations employing this technology began in the U.S. during the late 1970's. Today over 150,000 units are in service throughout North America.
Why doesn't the RenewAire ERV core freeze up? Why don't RenewAire ERVs need a condensate drain?
The very simple answer to both of these questions is that no condensate (liquid water) forms. Without water in the liquid phase, there is no need for a drain, and no solid ice forms in the RenewAire ERV energy exchange core, which also keeps functioning without interruption in typical winter conditions.
Does the RenewAire ERV energy exchange core itself block up with dust?
No. Once air enters the core itself, its velocity is too high for air-borne particles to settle out. Even in smoky bars or gambling casinos, the interior of the core stays remarkably clean. Vacuuming off the entering and exiting faces is all that is necessary to keep it functioning properly.
With all that water being transferred, I'm worried about germs and bacteria building up in the RenewAire ERV. Does that happen?
Laboratory tests confirm that RenewAire is not hospitable to microrganisms. In the RenewAire ERV energy exchange core, moisture is transferred as a gas, not as liquid water. By staying dry, the core denies germs the environment in which to propagate. In fact, a bacteria colony deliberately injected into the RenewAire core material was found to have died within a short time.
How is the typical RenewAire ERV residential ventilation system installed?
The residential RenewAire ERV is usually installed on a wall inside the home's mechanical room. Two insulated ducts connect the unit to the outside: one to get rid of stale air from the house, one to bring in fresh air from outside. One, two, or more ducts are used to collect stale air in the house, often in bathrooms; these are connected directly to the RenewAire ERV. The fresh, tempered air provided by the RenewAire ERV can be ducted into the home's furnace or air-conditioning ductwork.
Do I need a forced-air heating system in my home to install a RenewAire ERV?
RenewAire can be installed in homes with any kind of heating system. With hot-water heat, for example, it's easy to install a duct from the RenewAire ERV to one or two central locations in the home. Very simple installations can be very effective.
Does my HVAC contractor need many special accessories to install a RenewAire ERV?
RenewAire units are easy to install with the standard duct components, grilles, wall caps, and controls that most HVAC wholesalers already stock. Your HVAC contractor can use the same style wall grilles as in the rest of your heating or cooling system, and RenewAire provides attractive, intuitive controls to match your system and allow you complete control. Heating contractors often have the components they need to install RenewAire in their service trucks already.
What maintenance is required?
One of the reasons RenewAire's ERVs are so popular in both residential as well as commercial applications is the simple maintenance associated with our products. Following the suggested maintenance for the unit, simply replace the filters that protect the energy exchange core and inspect and vacuum (if necessary) the core faces with a soft bristle brush attached to a hose on a standard vacuum. Also, the outside wall caps, or louvers where fresh air is brought in, and where stale air is exhausted, should be checked seasonally to make sure they are not blocked.
What is the life expectancy of the RenewAire ERV energy exchange core?
The RenewAire core was designed to perform with a service life of 20+ years. Since introduction of the technology in the early 1970's, millions of these cores have been operating throughout the world with virtually a zero failure rate. Moreover, it has been well documented that both heat and moisture characteristics of RenewAire cores have not changed significantly when measured over time.
Among our competitors' desiccant-coated heat wheels, on the other hand, few are expected to perform optimally for more than 10 years.