Central heating can be a stuffy and irritable way of keeping warm during those cold British winters – so why not look into alternative ways of preserving heat in your home?

What is a heat recovery ventilation system?

heat recovery ventilation system

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A HRV system is a special ventilation unit that can be installed in your home. It works by replacing the old, stale air in your property with fresher, cleaner air either drawn from outside or produced via specifically-designed internal filters. It is usually controlled via an electronic switch and internal control panel, but the mechanics are a little more complex. Basically, an extractor fan pulls the musty air hanging around your home into the internal ductwork of your building or unit; the fan then pushes such air through a cross-flow or counter-flow heat exchanger which recovers around 60-70% of the heat that would otherwise be lost in standard trickle air vents. This leaves you with a warmer, well-heated home that has a continual fresh air supply.

What are the benefits of a heat recovery ventilation system?

  • Because of the amount of people in such a small, cramped environment, standard homes are often shown to have higher levels of water vapour and carbon dioxide in the air than is usually healthy for the average person. HRV systems help provide a fresher indoor atmosphere by expelling this stale air from the property, helping to alleviate the symptoms of various allergies, including asthma and hayfever. Some units even come with pollen filters that are fully certified by the British Allergy Foundation – which ensures you are definitely getting the most for your money!
  • Units can be fitted in the roof or attic space, in the space above cooker-hoods or even mounted almost anywhere on any wall in your home – making them a particularly versatile investment that is surprisingly easy to install. If you are proficient in DIY projects you can even mount the HRV system yourself, but if not a professional can usually get it done in under a couple of hours – so you don’t have to worry about labour costs either!
  • Not only are HRV systems easy to fit, but they are also extremely easy to operate too. Most run through a single electrical connection, and are then controlled via an internal wall panel that helps you select the optimum fan speed for your home – so you never have to worry about frequently replacing old batteries or the unit failing on you altogether.
  • Because of the fan speed selection that comes with most modern HRV systems, you don’t have to worry about the noisy internal mechanics of the unit either; most extractor fans are surprisingly quiet these days, and if they are a little too clunky when working at the highest level at least you know they can be easily hushed up when unexpected guests or visitors come knocking at your door!
  • For most of the seasons here in the UK – let alone the biting winters – temperatures rarely soar above 20°c, so a HRV system is also a great way to avoid all those open windows and unpleasant draughts battering their way through your home. Because of all the heat you are preserving thanks to your newly ‘enclosed’ property, your home also becomes more energy efficient than usual – saving you a little extra cash on energy bills!

How much will a heat recovery ventilation system cost?

HRV systems can vary significantly in price, so you should compare quotes from a number of different retailers, wholesalers and building contractors before you just purchase the first thing you see. Usually, however, you should be able to find a standard room unit for something between £350 to £800, depending on the quality and number of extra features it has installed – such as the levels of fan speed and/or noise reduction technology. If you don’t have the confidence to fix up the unit yourself, you should also take into account any labour fees – a contractor will usually charge around £30 to £50 an hour; it may sound a lot, but before you know it they will have fresh, warm air being pumped into your home for as long as you need!