Over the past few years, GBA has published several articles on “magic boxes” — a type of combination appliance that functions as a ventilation system, heating system, and cooling system. Most recently, I wrote about the CERV, a magic box manufactured in Illinois. Now a Canadian manufacturer has come out with a magic box that resembles the CERV.
The new device, the Boreal 12000, is manufactured by Minotair, a small company in Gatineau, Quebec. Like the CERV, the Minotair Boreal 12000 includes an air-source heat pump. All of the heat pump’s components, including both the condenser coil and the evaporator coil, are located indoors. Like a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV), the Minotair Boreal 12000 has four duct connections, including a fresh air duct that pulls outdoor air into the appliance and an exhaust duct that delivers stale air outdoors. During the winter, the exhaust air from the house passes over the heat pump’s evaporator coil, allowing the heat pump to scavenge some heat from the exhaust air. Since the condenser coil is located in the fresh-air duct, the Boreal 12000 delivers heat to the incoming ventilation air.
A motorized damper adjusts the airflow paths depending on whether the unit is in ventilation mode or recirculation mode. During the summer, the heat pump removes heat and moisture from the incoming outdoor air stream and delivers heat to the exhaust air stream, thereby lowering the temperature and humidity level of the incoming ventilation air.
The main purpose of the Minotair Boreal 12000 is to provide mechanical ventilation for a home in a way that pays close attention to the indoor humidity level. While the device appears capable of doing an excellent job of ventilation, it can also provide up to 9,400 Btu/h of space heating and up to 8,700 Btu/h of cooling. While that’s not…