Surprisingly few people hear of a heat recovery ventilator (HRV)--which is a crying shame, really, because it's an excellent way to save money on your winter heating bills. This is especially true if you live in the icy north, but you'll see a difference even if you reside in warmer climates.
Read on, and introduce yourself to this nifty device.
There was a time when the average house leaked like a sieve during the winter, with the cool outside air forcing its way in through cracks around doors and windows. Drafty houses are expensive to heat, so for reasons of energy-efficiency, most modern houses are more or less airtight.
It turns out that those drafts had a purpose: they pumped in fresh air, which is necessary for good health. In order to get good ventilation in a modern house, opening a window or otherwise lets your heat out to warm up the whole outdoors.
And then, of course, your HVAC system uses more energy to warm up the frosty outside air that displayed that stale warm air...and up goes your home heating bill. It's a vicious circle.
Here it comes to save the day!
Ah, but there's a way to exchange air without completely wasting your precious heat: install an HRV system. This way, you use the warmth of the stale outgoing air to heat the fresh air as it comes in. You still need a little more energy to heat the new air, but you can save up to 85% of the existing heat.
Here's how an HRV works: one fan pushes stale air out, while another pulls fresh air in. The set-up is arranged so that, much like a car radiator, one fan passes the heat from the outgoing air stream to the incoming one. Another big benefit is that it replaces the moisture-laden stale air with dry air, which it filters as it enters.
HRV systems aren't cheap; expect to pay up to $2,500 to install one. But you won't have to open windows to ventilate your home anymore, either, which should save a noticeable amount of money. An HRV pays for itself in a few years, so no worries there.
On top of that, an HRV system saves precious energy and resources. Which means Mother Earth smiles on you, because heat recovery ventilator systems are great for the planet.