How Long Does it Take to Install a Zehnder Ventilation System? 7 Points to Consider


As the demand for high indoor air quality increases, builders and architects are interested in installing state-of-the-art ventilation systems in high-performance projects. This is an excellent opportunity to distinguish a contractor or design firm as a leader in innovative ventilation solutions.

As the leader in high-efficiency heat recovery ventilators and energy recovery ventilators, the Zehnder America team is often asked about what to expect in the installation process and how long it will take to install a system. In the graphic below, you can see some average times you can assume when installing our system (new construction and retrofits) but there are also MANY variables that affect the time to consider as well. Read below.


1: Having a Ventilation Strategy

Zehnder provides design work and installation support when installing heat recovery ventilators to help streamline the process from start to finish. Zehnder engineers and technical experts that can review project plans to determine the ideal air distribution in each room and help prevent errors or issues during the installation process.

Typically, bathrooms, kitchens, and mechanical rooms exhaust stale air while bedrooms and living spaces intake fresh air. It is important to design the ventilation system in accordance with local building codes to ensure compliance and proper airflow rates. Watch this video to learn more about Zehnder ventilation system design and components.

2: Retrofitting Existing Projects

Installing a Zehnder system on an existing project typically takes more time. One reason is that the difficulty of installing the ventilation tubing varies widely by project. Chris Smith of Steeplechase Builders was able to find a simple solution when installing two Zehnder ComfoAir 350 energy recovery ventilation systems in a New Hampshire cape.

“The home has a gas fireplace on the main floor with a wood-framed chimney chase bump-out,” explains Chris. “The chase has a corresponding bump-out in the foundation and extends all the way to the attic. There was enough space on either side of the gas fireplace that we were able to run metal ducts from the ERVs in the basement up the chase to our distribution points in the attic…With this experience behind me, I can see how we can use Zehnder ventilation systems on just about any project.”

3: Size Matters

Typically, it takes longer to install an HRV or ERV in a larger home than a smaller home, thus larger ventilations systems take longer to install than smaller ones. It is important to accurately design the ventilation system before ordering the necessary parts.

4: Additional Components

In addition to manufacturing the ventilator, Zehnder also makes many of the necessary components, including the ventilation tubing, diffusers, grills, register covers, silencer boxes, system controls, and air filters. These components need to be transported to the project site to keep the installation on schedule. Builders may need to purchase additional supplies that aren’t produced by Zehnder, including metal ducts, tapes & sealants, low voltage wiring, and nail plates.

5: Trade Coordination

Installing a Zehnder system may also require coordination with other trades that are involved in the installation process, such as plumbers, electricians, or carpenters. When the builder is mounting silencers and manifolds remotely or when installing the ComfoAir 550, the installation time is longer due to the need to assemble and seal the metal ductwork.

6: Prior Experience Installing a Zehnder ComfoAir Ventilation System

Experience helps streamline the installation process from the installer’s sales process through system commissioning. Although the Zehnder team helps design the system and offer technical expertise during the installation process, experience helps streamline the installation process and can reduce the time required to install the ComfoAir unit.

7: HRV Commissioning

The Zehnder team or a qualified partner provide commissioning services to builders and homeowners that have installed complete heat recovery ventilation systems. Commissioning is a critical step that ensures that the ventilator meets the Zehnder design criteria for comfort, efficiency, proper ventilation, and operation. The commissioning agent will check flow rates in all the rooms and determines if the system meets applicable ventilation code requirements.

Zehnder has a simple online commissioning request form with a convenient checklist for determining if the system is installed and operational. It is important to follow the checklist before commissioning the system to avoid issues with inspecting ducting, diffusers, register covers, intake and exhaust grills, air filters, and system controls. It is also extremely helpful to have the homeowner or building present during the commissioning visit by a Zehnder representative.

Other Factors to Consider

As mentioned earlier, there are many variables that may prolong installation times. Some others include but aren’t limited to:

  • The installer’s sales process with the client
  • Transporting the equipment to the job-site and staging the equipment on site
  • Return trips to finish installation after construction is finished

Interested in learning more about Zehnder ventilation solutions for a project? Request a quote today!