Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery or MVHR is a popular upgrade for existing homes’ heating and ventilation systems since it improves quality of life while reducing energy needs. It is so advantageous that it is a default solution in many newly built structures. However, this isn’t a plug-and-play solution, and it isn’t right for everyone. Here are four things you should consider when shopping for an MVHR system.
The Age of Your Home
MVHR is only effective when a home is relatively airtight. An older home that suffers from drafts and leaks isn’t suitable for mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Most experts say that the home needs to have a specific level of air tightness. This can be determined through air leakage testing.
The Design of Your Home
Your home could be relatively airtight but still not be suitable for mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. The MVHR system requires two sets of ducts. If you have to cut through stone walls or support beams to install MVHR, it isn’t the right choice for you. That is aside from the way the duct work may clash with your architecture.
The MVHR system should be suitably sized for your home as well. If it runs at eighty to ninety percent capacity, it will be noisy, though many buy such systems because of how quiet they normally are. If the unit is running at twenty to thirty percent capacity, you’re paying too much for the equipment. The ideal system runs at fifty to sixty percent capacity.
The Equipment Going In
Good engineering is essential if you’re going to see the promised benefits of MVHR systems. For example, supply rates should be measured in addition to extraction rates. Automatic balancing done by the controls makes it easier to commission the system but doesn’t make up for dramatically different air flow rates at various stages of the system. Nuaire is recognised as one of the top MVHR manufacturers in the UK. Nuaire’s MVHR systems are compact, high quality, and often come with built-in intelligence. This maximises the efficiency of the unit and how comfortable your home is.
You probably want to have manual control of the unit so you can adjust the fan speech control, but it is a matter of personal preference whether you want to be able to control it via a remote control panel or app.
There are several ways that location affects the suitability of MVHR systems for an individual home and how well it works in the home. For example, MVHR filtration systems are essential to it running smoothly. It will filter inside air, but it must also filter outside air being pulled into the home. You don’t want a system that doesn’t provide adequate filtration based on the air quality of your area.
The filters have to be replaced regularly. The system should put air filters where they’re easily accessible since they can’t be left alone the way passive stack ventilation systems can be. A side benefit of readily accessed filters is that you can quickly upgrade to an F7 filter that removes pollen as well as dust.
In general, units shouldn’t be stuck in the loft area. Not only does this make it hard to access for maintenance, but it puts the system where the noise can be heard by everyone below it. The ideal location is within a dedicated plant room. If that’s not available, use the utility room. Secondary solutions like attenuators placed inside the supply ducts are an option but not as effective.
A well-designed, properly installed MVHR system will always reduce your energy costs if installed in an air-tight home. However, mistakes of any kind in sizing, selection, and installation could end costing you, so make sure you consult a professional to know if it’s the best option for your property.