Energy Recovery Ventilation: What Is an ERV and Do I Need One?


When you build a home, you want that home to be healthy for everyone who enters it. The easiest way to do this is to include a system air filtration system that will help bring fresh air into the home. Clean indoor air can also help reduce symptoms of allergies and asthma.

The best system for creating clean air in a home is an Energy Recovery Ventilation. When building a new home, we recommend including an ERV from the very beginning!

But what is an ERV and do I need one? How does an ERV work? Why is it important?

We will walk you through everything you need to know about ERVs so you can provide the best air quality possible.

What Is an ERV and Do I Need One?

ERV stands for Energy Recovery Ventilator. It is a type of air filtration system. These systems are important to include in a home because it takes contaminants out of the air; like pollen, allergins, and more.

The air in your home after the ERV process is cleaner and healthier. If you, your family, an employee, or a client suffers from asthma, installing an ERV and reaping the benefits of fresh air is a must.

Benefits of Energy Recovery Ventilation

By removing pollutants and improving air quality, it can make breathing easier. Allergy sufferers will also benefit from this system because it removes allergens from inside the home, providing much-needed relief

In reality, everyone needs an ERV. Everyone can enjoy cleaner air in their homes regardless of their medical condition. When you build a home, including an ERV should be a no-brainer.

An ERV system has financial benefits as well. It makes homes more energy-efficient and reduces stress on the home’s HVAC system. This helps avoid expensive HVAC repairs and replacements.

During the summer, ERV systems also help cool the air in homes by reducing humidity levels, which means less reliance on air conditioners. This means a lower energy bill and more money in your pocket long term.

During the winter, an ERV can help maintain moisture in the home’s air. This is beneficial because it can help prevent the skin from getting dry and cracking. It can also make your home feel warmer, which can reduce home heating costs.

Energy Recovery Ventilators are also a key part of Passive Housing. ERVs are the most efficient ways to bring fresh air into a home and remove stale air inside.

How Does an ERV Work?

ERV air filtration systems have very simple components. ERV systems contain a heat exchange wheel, a plate heat exchanger fixed to its core, runaround coils of water, ad a refrigerated heat pipe exchanger. Air from outside the home comes in one side, and air from inside the home comes in the other.

The wheel made of metal or plastic rotates and removes heat from one stream of air and puts it into another. This helps remove heat or humidity from inside the home.

The plates at the core of an ERV can be an alternative to wheels. The air streams will move next to each other via ducts. The air will cool down or heat up depending on the condition the air is in when it first enters the system.

Located between both air streams are the heat pipes. These contain refrigerant. One air stream heats the refrigerant, which causes it to evaporate. After it evaporates, it moves to the other stream and warms the cooler air. The air can then flow back into the warmer air stream.

Finally, the run-around coils function similarly to the heat pipes. It also takes heat from one air stream and releases it into another.

This process takes the heat from the air leaving the home and exchanges it with cooler air entering from outside. It also helps reduce the amount of air an HVAC system has to filter through because an ERV filters the air as it initially enters the home.


We recommend making including an ERV installation as the first thing you do when planning a home build or renovation. Installing an ERV before other systems is important because this is a system that goes into walls and works with an HVAC.

If you try to install it after wall work, you make have to tear out the walls you just put in. This can be expensive, so starting with an ERV installation can save you money.

Installing an ERV is a simple process, and begins with finding the perfect area to place it. Install the fresh air entry in an area that can easily accept new, clean air. This means installing it away from driveways, exhausts, or laundry gates.

Air from inside the home entering an ERV should come from a wall near the kitchen. But, it needs to be at least 10ft away from the oven because oil and grease can clog an ERV system. Keeping it away from cooking areas will prevent repairs down the road.

Keep the fan on 24/7 to keep new air flowing throughout the entire home. Attach the ventilated air to the reverse channel of the home’s ductwork system. This allows air to easily rotate over the entire home as well.

Build a Healthier Home Today!

We’ve walked you through all the benefits of an ERV system, what it is, and that everyone can benefit from having one. Installing an ERV system is easy. Include an ERV in every design for a home looking to be more energy-efficient and healthy.

We at Alquimia have a team of expert architects, craftsmen, and engineers who know how to include an ERV system in the design of a home. We understand the value of clean air and the financial benefits of energy efficiency.

Working with us from the start can help you save money throughout your entire project. We know the ins and outs of home-building in the Houston area. Reach out to us today to get started!

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