Why a Well-Designed and Low Noise HRV System Makes for a Happy Homeowner

Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) or Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) have been commonly used in Canada for years and have become increasingly common in high-performance homes in the US.  Though there is an increasing awareness of the importance of an HRV or ERV in an energy-efficient home, the comfort level of the occupants can vary greatly depending on the noise level of the HRV or ERV system.

According to Aubrey Gewehr, PE, CPHC, LEED AP, Zehnder Northeast Technical Sales Engineer, “Most people don’t realize that the strategies you use to make an energy efficient building – excellent air-sealing, super insulating, and high-quality windows – are the same measures you take for building a soundproof recording studio. So an energy efficient home is also very sound isolated from the environment.  This can be a good thing, especially if you live in a noisy city!  However, without ambient neighborhood sound as a background in a home, noise from mechanical systems can become much more exacerbated and noticeable.  This is why the sound level of the equipment selected is as important as the efficiency when it comes to creating a comfortable living environment.”

How to choose a quiet HRV system?   

It’s important to do your research and choose an HRV/ERV unit known to be very quiet.  One important aspect of quiet HRVs or ERVs is their size. Larger units tend to produce less noise, as they are better insulated and provide for air moving at lower velocity through the heat exchanger. A high-quality HRV or ERV has very quiet motors and fans.

Next, look for manufacturers that offer design, installation and commissioning support of the whole HRV/ERV ventilation system. When you have a system that is designed with properly matched system components, it will minimize the noise and often provide a smoother installation. Some HRV/ERV systems, such as Zehnder’s, are built in with sound attenuators (or silencers) to minimize noise. Often we find that customers are happily surprised by the quietness of a Zehnder ventilation system.

For a complementary Zehnder HRV system design and quote, you can email us your project plans here.