Why Have an HRV System Commissioned?


After the installation of a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), home and building owners may overlook the importance of commissioning their system. Commissioning an HRV system can make a world of difference when it comes to ensuring that the system is fully functional, effective, and performing up to standards. Furthermore, commissioning can help reduce maintenance and operating costs, improve comfort, and extend equipment life. Home and building owners who want to ensure optimal performance from their system should have it commissioned soon after the design and installation phases are complete.

What Is Commissioning?

By definition, commissioning is a systematic and documented process that ensures that specific building systems are performing according to the building’s operational needs. The HRV system commissioning process assures that the installation meets the design criteria used to maximize comfort, efficiency, proper ventilation, and operation. Commissioning is also referred to as quality assurance or QA. The information collected during the commissioning is used to provide a baseline snapshot of the new unit’s functioning and performance. This documentation can then aid and streamline future service to the system.

HRV System Commissioning Process

During the commissioning, the air that flows to each register or diffuser is measured, and the total supply air and total return air flows are determined. The total supply air and total return air flows should be balanced to provide optimal efficiency and to confirm that the supply and exhaust flow meet design and code requirements.

Part of the commissioning process is also to identify, diagnose, and resolve any issues that may prevent the optimal level of efficiency. During the commissioning of an HRV system, a trained individual checks the key components of the design, installation, and operation of the system.

One of these key components is the air flow balance through each diffuser or register in the system, which is often measured using a handheld device. Failure to properly balance the registers can result in uneven air intake and exhaust throughout the home. For example, significantly more air may be pulled from a downstairs room than from an upstairs room, disrupting the equilibrium of the home’s overall air flow. If issues are discovered, the trained commissioning agent will adjust the registers as needed.