Okay so let’s start with the basics, what is a Heat Recovery System?
Essentially it’s a system installed in your home to recovery heat energy that would usually be lost. To do this, an air-to-air heat exchanger will be installed into your home. This will recover the heat that would normally be wasted heat from your home, but it will also supplying you with fresh, highly filtered air at the same time. It’s a system that works independently from your heating system, but due to it recovering heat that would normally be lost, it can actually give great savings on your energy bills. Don’t worry about baking in summer though! You can bypass the heat exchanger at any time to bring in air from outside at a lower temperature but your air in your home will still be filtered and purified.
What are the benefits of a heat recovery system?
We all know that our homes should be as airtight as possible to make them more energy efficient by not wasting energy and ensuring lower energy bills in the longer-term. Did you know that this can cause poor air quality due to there being no sources of natural ventilation? By sealing up our homes to keep that valuable heat from escaping, we’re essentially sealing in the moisture produced by everyday activities such as washing, drying, cooking, bathing and simply breathing. We couldn’t believe it when we found out that the average family produces up to 10 litres of moisture in their home every day! In a month, that is A LOT of moisture, enough moisture to fill 2 baths in fact!
A recent report from the Royal College of Physicians revealed some alarming statistics on the impact of air pollution on our health. It said that indoor air can be up to 50 times more polluted than outdoor air, containing up to 900 potentially dangerous chemicals. This could make our homes fill with condensation and mould, damaging the walls and the fabric of our house. However, and probably more importantly it can make the occupants sick. High humidity levels can affect allergies and respiratory diseases brought on by mould and mildew. Mites, mould and mildew all thrive in these high humidity environments and we all know how deadly certainly moulds can be.
So in the transition towards airtight buildings and energy improvements, adequate ventilation is now more important than ever. Working on your ventilation strategy will not only keep your home free from condensation and mould, it will also ensure that your air quality is at an optimum level; fresh yet free from pollutants.
When should I install a Heat Recovery Ventilation System?
We would advise that installation of a Heat Recovery Ventilation is part of the initial design of a new build property. Ideally, you’d like a few bends as possible in the systems, as these bends increase the air resistance and flow rate, and these have to be considered in the overall design. If the system isn’t designed correctly, you run the risk of ending up with a noisy system that doesn’t move the air enough [or moves too much air].
Retrofitting is possible too. There are just a couple of things to consider when assessing the suitability of installing a heat recovery system. Firstly we will need to check whether there will be enough space to house the heat exchanger, normally in the loft or storage space at the top of the building. It also be necessary to check whether there is adequate space and access for the installation of ductwork and that it can reach all of your rooms. In some cases, it can be tricky and can often require the lifting of floors. For this reasons, some people choose to fit their system when the whole property is being renovated. Don’t forget that some older buildings aren’t as airtight as newer houses and offices, and often lose valuable heat through cracks in the walls or old vents. Before taking on a system, we’d recommend consulting one of our experts to ensure that the correct system is installed.