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Absurd Minotair ERV quote

Will R | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I received a quote of 17k to install the Minotair Pentacare V-12 in my 1600sq ft plus 1k sq ft of unfinished but insulated basement.  Would be a retrofit for a 1915 bungalow outside of Boston. There would be some demo of drywall to get up to the 2nd floor for 2 bedrooms but would only be 2 supply ducts. The rest of the runs would be pretty easy in unfinished basements. I was looking at the Minotair giving its dehumidifying properties ( to help our ductless mini splits),  ability to provide a small amount of heating/cooling (one very small bedroom without a head and basement), remove radon ( averaging 4pci/l over 6 months) and carbon filter with merv15 filtering (neighbors use wood as primary heating). I thought the quote would come in around 8k given that it’s been reported on this site that the unit costs approximately $6.5k. I keep trying to call the company but no one is picking up. Only one company is chosen in an area to be an installer in an area. Any thoughts? Zehnder quote I received was 8-9k not installed.

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Replies

  1. emma_vt | | #1

    I couldn't get anyone to give us a quote for a Minotair at all (vermont) - so you're ahead of the game. Ultimately it's a super niche product with a very few installers - all of whom are up to their eyeballs with non-niche work - so they can charge whatever they want. We ultimately moved away from the idea because we were worried about being able to find someone to service it.

  2. Will R | | #2

    Thanks Emma. What did you end up installing?

    1. emma_vt | | #5

      We’re going with a Renewaire ERV, quote is about $10k installed (but not in yet). Additionally we’re getting two small mini splits to address cooling. Conceptually the Minotair would’ve solved a lot of problems for us, just didn’t pan out.

  3. Jonny_H | | #3

    For what it's worth, I just got a quote of $8500 for the unit by itself, with a 3-4 month lead time -- I contacted ECO AIR in Pennsylvania as they were probably the closest dealer to me, and they replied quickly, so try them if you're still interested -- at that price, I'm not!

    1. Will R | | #4

      Thanks Jonny, I think you have to get it through your local distributor. Looks like the prices have gone up like everything else. What are you going to do instead?

      1. Jonny_H | | #6

        I have no idea! Don't worry, I still have at least, like, 2 days to figure out my entire HVAC system ;)

        Seriously though -- In terms of things like the Minotair, I haven't found anything at a reasonable cost -- the CERV is a bit better but still north of 5k for the unit, the Ephoca VHP is north of 7k, and Messana hasn't responded to my inquiry. That leaves me selecting from a range of standard HRV / ERV systems. My worry, of course, is dehumidification -- we have fairly long, humid shoulder seasons (think cool, rainy springs and falls), where air conditioning isn't really needed -- so it seems I'm on the road to a standalone dehumidifier. One HVAC contractor I talked to suggested adding resistance electric heat coils on a ducted mini-split, serving double duty as backup heat and electric reheat for better dehumidification -- it's a shame mini-splits don't really do hot gas reheat. I've also thought of putting a hydronic coil inline with my HRV fresh air inlet, and another at the HRV fresh air outlet, and putting together my own system using chilled and/or heated water for dehumidification and keeping the HRV from needing recirculation defrost cycles.

        1. Trevor Lambert | | #8

          Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Minotair and CERV have inline heat pumps, rather than a dehumidifier. If that is the case, it won't dehumidify the air any better than a minisplit.

          1. Jonny_H | | #9

            Correct, they have air-to-air heat pumps instead of an air-to-air heat exchanger -- this allows more dehumidification than you'd get with just a passive heat exchanger, since you can cool the fresh air supply below interior room temperature (and thus condense out more moisture before delivering the air). I think the benefit compared to a mini-split is that you're dehumidifying the ventilation air at the source, and that the amount of cold air you're introducing is relatively small and unlikely to overcool the space, while the mini-split would need to run colder and cycle on and off in order to achieve equivalent dehumidification when there's not much sensible load. (The Messana ATU contains a passive heat exchanger core as well as a stack of various hydronic and refrigerant coils depending on the model, and can dehumidify, heat, or cool delivered air independently.)

  4. AlexPoi | | #7

    Steel prices are up 200% this year. It's probably why the price has increased so much. Might be lower in 2022.

    1. Will R | | #10

      Thanks AlexPoi, I’ve yet to see anything in HVAC “come back down.” Everything seems to remain up.

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