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Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery or MVHR systems are a revolutionary breakthrough in heating, air conditioning, and ventilation technology. They’ve exploded onto the market due to their myriad benefits and their adoption rate has been accelerated by government incentives to install them. Yet there is significant confusion about MVHR systems, something made worse by their relative novelty. Here are some of the most common questions people have about MVHR systems.
What are the Benefits of MVHR Systems?
MVHR systems recover the warmth from your old, stale air and transfer it to the fresh, incoming air. This reduces your heating costs since it can recover up to 95 percent of the heat you otherwise lose.
It also maintains your indoor humidity levels while removing pollen and dust. This improves your indoor air quality while saving up to a third on your heating bills. By removing excess humidity from “wet” rooms like bathrooms and kitchens while transferring it to the rest of the house, you may see less mould and mildew in those rooms. MVHR systems often eliminate hot and cold spots in the home because they’re transferring air and heat across the house, giving it a uniform temperature.
When do I need to Plan on the MVHR System being Installed in my New Building?
As soon as you receive planning permission, decide which MVHR system you want installing in the home so that it can be incorporated into the design. This makes it possible to lay out the MVHR system so that the ducting is hidden in joists and walls. It is very difficult to install an MVHR system in an existing home. It is expensive to cut the duct into small segments and put them between the joists before reconnecting them because you didn’t plan on their installation as part of the home construction process. Special care needs to be taken to integrate MVHR when you have a fireplace.
Note that if you have already built your home, it is possible to retrofit an MVHR system into it. Nuaire is recognised as one of the market leaders in ventilation solutions and they offer all sorts of different units for different needs. BPC Ventilation offers a wide variety of Nuaire units and they also provide professional installation throughout the UK and Ireland, so make sure to give them a call and see if a retrofit would be possible in your case.
Will the Unit be Unsightly?
This depends on the MVHR system. However, you can find MVHR systems that fit in a cupboard or closet. It may be able to utilise the ducting in your existing home, or quieter, more energy-efficient ducts may be installed in their place. Ducting may also be hidden within contemporary design features. Nuaire’s units are stylish, compact white boxes that fit almost anywhere but won’t stand out like a sore thumb if mounted to the wall.
Can MVHR be Installed in any Building?
In theory, yes. However, you only see the promised benefits if the building is rather airtight. A good rule of thumb is only installing an MVHR system in a building with air permeability at or below three meters cubed per meters squared per hour at 50 Pascals.
If the building is not this airtight, you won’t see the full benefits of an MVHR system. Drafty buildings will render the MVHR system moot. You’ll also undermine the effectiveness of the MVHR system when you open the windows regularly, though the way it improves indoor air quality should make this unnecessary except when you’re doing summer purging.
MVHR systems can save energy and improve indoor air quality. They’re low maintenance and easy to use. And they’re an option for almost every building provided it is properly sized and installed.