Whole house heat recovery systems for self-builders

Whole house heat recovery systems for self-builders28/03/2016

Whole house heat recovery systems for self-builders

By EnviroVent

If you are building your own home then you almost certainly want the most cost-effective, future-proofed and energy-efficient home possible. One way to achieve this is by designing your build around a whole house heat recovery system that will enable you to go for a more insulated house, requiring no background ventilation. This will be much more efficient in the long run.

Modern houses are, without a doubt, much warmer than older properties. That’s in part due to much better insulation and in part due to superior building standards and regulations, meaning there are simply less places for air to escape from. That’s good in many respects: it means the house is warmer, the heating bills are lower and the house itself is simply a nicer place to be, but it brings with it its own problems.

Even we make water

Human beings can create two litres of water vapour each day just by moving and breathing. Add washing machines, showers and cooking to the equation and there's an excess of water vapour in the house that needs to escape somehow.

That will cause air quality problems, with asthma sufferers and others of a sensitive disposition feeling the effects right away. It will have a lasting impact on everyone else, too, as a damp and musty smelling home simply isn't what anybody dreams of.

Over time, condensation on walls will cause damage to the plasterwork, woodwork and even the joists in the house. If you've built the house yourself then you want to protect it; it’s more than four walls, it's your dream build and you have to give it the best possible chance if you want it to survive for generations to come.

Heat recovery saves the pain

Incorporating a whole house mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery into your self-build project from the beginning will enable you to have the most efficient ventilation system possible and you can even integrate it into the very fabric of the building. That means it will be unobtrusive and effective, helping you control the humidity levels throughout your new home all year round while ensuring the outer shell remains as airtight as possible.

Essentially the whole house mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system extracts moist air from the kitchen and bathroom, as well as other areas of the house, over a heat exchanger in a central unit that is housed in the utility room, attic or basement and then to the outside. Fresh air is drawn from the outside and passed over the heat exchanger, collecting up to 90% of the heat from the extracted air, which is then circulated through the house.

This ensures a steady stream of warm air through the house, which will help you cut your heating bills, as well as extracting moisture on a consistent basis.

Types of units

There’s a system to suit any type of build, with varying sizes designed to cope with large and small properties. There are even slimline units for ceiling voids where space is at a premium.

We can even calculate the system you will need from the basic plans, as well as advising on semi rigid duct runs that will comply fully with the building regulations.

You can opt for a single room system like the energiVent SR that runs through the external wall, for the bathroom or kitchen, which ensures that these moisture hotspots can be controlled before it becomes an issue. This single room heat recovery system is a more compact, efficient alternative to traditional extractor fans which can be purchased from DIY stores which are relatively ineffective. Effectively it’s like having the window open, without losing all of the heat that you have inside the bathroom. In the winter, that’s a big deal.

Intelligent controls

The energiVent SR comes with an intelligent control system, so you won’t even need to turn it on. It works automatically to remove the moisture from the air when the humidity reaches a certain level. It comes with frost protection and in the summer supply air is restricted to help cool the house. The systems also fit in a variety of wall depths, so you can fit one in to your new house with minimal fuss.

The benefits of these systems speak for themselves. Not only do they improve the air quality in your new house, they eliminate condensation which is the predecessor to mould, which can cause huge damage to your home and your health.

A heat recovery system can also have a profound effect on your heating bills. The heat exchange cell in the whole house system can recover upto 93% of the heat that could be lost to the atmosphere.

Optimise your house

You can even optimise your heat recovery with an intelligent control system that adapts to the levels of moisture in the house and in the air in winter, summer and according to other variables to keep your heating bills to a minimum and your house at a constant temperature and humidity level throughout the year. 

A heat recovery system can save you a huge amount of money over the course of the year, and when you look at the lifespan of your house then the potential savings are massive. It goes well beyond the money, though: you’ll feel the benefit of your heat recovery system each and every day in the improved air quality, the consistent temperature, the humidity and even the smell of your home.

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