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Whole House Heat Recovery Systems For Self-Builders

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Whole House Heat Recovery Systems For Self-Builders

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Mar 28, 2016

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.

Typically, the units are kept in an accesible loft or cupboard space. Fresh air from outside is supplied to the habitable rooms and stale humid air is extracted from the 'wet' rooms. These high efficiency heat exchangers can provide substantial savings in energy costs.

There are a lot of differences in heat recovery units from performance output, physical size, orientation, controllability, cost and types of heat exchanger.

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.

What is a heat recovery unit?

Heat recovery ventilation works independently of your normal heating system. These flow past each other without mixing physically but the heat is drawn from the stale air to the cold air, which is then fed back down into the pipes and into the rooms. The stale air, minus its heat, is then expelled into the atmosphere.

A Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MVHR) is a system that works to extract excess moisture in the air yet also recovers the heat, meaning that it provides your home with ventilated air but doesn't take out any necessary warmth. A Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation unit can make your home more energy efficient when installed correctly, extracting moisture caused by condensation which can be especially prevalent in wet rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. 

All of our Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation products are manufactured here in the UK and offer a wide range of innovative benefits in addition to exceptional performance and low maintenance. 

Why choose a mechanical heat recovery system? 

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 and is the best heat recovery system.

Key benefits of a Heat Recovery System

Some of the key benefits of a MVHR is that they reduce dust and pollen throughout the house and are collected via a filter within your system. They greatly reduce moisture, condensations and smells cause by cooking as well as greatly reduce energy usage with your home. Reducing moisture and condensation will in turn reduce risks of damp and mould throughout the home. A heat recovery system can certainly save on energy bills and keep you warmer in the winter. New build houses can boast up to 30% savings on heating bills.

Installing a heat recovery system could save on energy bills and help keep the house warm during the winter months. It costs money to heat our homes but if we open a window or a door that warm air simply goes out into the atmosphere. With a ventilation system you have a constant supply of warm, fresh air circulating throughout your home. For businesses and industry on the other hand, heat recovery helps make the work place a far more efficient place.

Nowadays most heat recovery systems behave smartly, reducing the amount of heat that is extracted during the summer months so that comfort levels are maintained or instead can be used for drawing more heat from areas such as a kitchen or wet room where the temperature is likely to be higher. In offices or working buildings they can be used to keep workers cool during the summer months and warmer in the winter without the need to open windows are use heaters wastefully.

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 in order to fit best heat recovery system.

You can opt for a single room system like the heatSava 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.

We Make Ventilation Design Easy - Using Our Design Service

EnviroVent’s projects team takes the hassle and complication out of ventilation system design by providing a dedicated and bespoke design service enabling us to easily convert your requirements into a quote quickly and hassle free.

We have a dedicated in-house team of professionally trained CAD designers who work closely with our technical team to ensure the right product is specified and that airflow rates are met and building regulations are adhered to. They can support you with your ventilation project and have extensive experience in new build and refurbishment projects for both residential and commercial applications.

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