A Breath of Fresh Air for New-Build Homes
Want to add value to your new-build home, enjoy clean, fresh, filtered air? Increase the energy efficiency? Here's how.
Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery? Sounds complicated...
Houses are designed to keep the elements out. But you may not realise that your home also needs to breathe - to let air flow in and out. And that can be an issue, particularly with today's airtight new-build homes, which are constructed with double or even triple-glazed windows, sealed doors and superior levels of insulation - all designed to minimise heat loss and increase energy efficiency.
The solution is Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) - also known as Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV). It's a system that lets you move fresh warm air into and around your house without losing valuable, expensive heat in the process. In fact, a HRV system is designed to recover up to 95% of the heat that's normally lost through open windows, trickle vents and extractor fans, allowing you to make valuable energy savings.
But aren't new-builds more energy-efficient anyway?
Why would I need MVHR in mine?
New-build houses do have a lot going for them. They're easier to heat and maintain than older homes, are constructed to higher environmental and technical standards, are better insulated and draught-free and, yes, they're much more energy efficient. But as they are much more airtight, balanced ventilation is more critical to the building and its occupants. An MVHR system provides this energy efficient balance.
I'm intrigued. So how does it work then?
Glad you asked. You fit a low-energy heat recovery ventilation unit in the house - usually the loft or a utility room. Fresh air is drawn in from outside and filtered through the unit, removing pollutants and insects. Then the clean air is distributed around the house through a series of ducts into bedrooms and living rooms via ceiling valves. At the same time, stale, moist air is extracted from all wetroom areas like bathrooms, showers, WCs, kitchens and utility rooms. The heat from this extracted air is transferred to the filtered incoming fresh air. This 'recovered' heat can off-set some of your energy costs and help reduce your fuel bills.
So it's efficient and could save me money too. Any other benefits?
Yes, there are other lifestyle advantages as well. An MVHR system eliminates the need for window vents or extractor fans. (Imagine - living draft-free!) A constant supply of clean, healthy, filtered air could also help lessen symptoms for asthmatics and allergy sufferers. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery improves indoor air quality throughout your house, removing musty odours and reducing surface condensation in the home, along with potentially harmful moulds and mildew.
Is my new house going to be suitable?
MVHR systems work for every type of new-build construction, including concrete slab build, timberframe, Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF), Passive and low-energy houses. If you're buying off-plan or building your own home - perhaps with an architect - try to incorporate plans for an MVHR system as early as possible in the process. The system design also gives builders an understanding of void spaces required for ducting routes and locations of ceiling valves. MVHR systems can be installed in an existing property, but a survey would be needed first.
So when's the best stage of the build to have it installed?
The MVHR ducting should be installed when the roof is complete and the house is watertight, before other services - electricity, gas, water - are connected, and before partition walls or floors are put in. Once the ducting is in place, the heat recovery unit is installed. It's important to remember that new-builds hold a lot of moisture from construction processes such as plastering, etc. Once the house has 'dried out', the MVHR can be put into commission and calibrated for your home.
What about maintenance?
MVHR systems are very reliable and easy to maintain. The main thing is to change the filter annually. This will help ensure the system is working optimally.
So... how much will it cost?
The answer to that is... well, it depends. The HRV system is individually designed to suit the house and occupants. The cost will be affected by factors such as the number of rooms needing air extraction or distribution and the size of the house itself. These will determine the size of the actual ventilation unit you'll need. Luckily, we can help - by offering a complete installation service, or a DIY solution.
For a breath of fresh air - not hot air - contact us today for more information on Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery.