Sorting Out Options for Whole-House Ventilation
A couple looks for a a fresh-air-circulation system that will keep their new home healthful without breaking the bank
Cathy O and her husband are building a house on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and recognize the importance of a mechanical ventilation system to keep indoor air healthy. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) often is the equipment of choice for this application, but Cathy is balking at the cost of installing one, and says she has been told that HRVs are a waste of money.
In a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor’s Q&A Forum, Cathy wonders what other options she has.
“”Does the house need an HRV?” she asks. “Would a minisplit or two do the same work of providing fresh air and some heat? Should we just open the windows from time to time (as recommended by our chimney installer)?”
A minisplit, a type of air-source heat pump, is not going to solve Cathy’s dilemma, but it turns out she does have some less expensive alternatives for whole-house ventilation. One of them is an exhaust-only strategy that uses very quiet bathroom fans to discharge stale air.
But the couple is advised to think twice about their plan to heat the house with two woodstoves, unless they come up with a way to provide makeup air.