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Community and Q&A

Choosing a Recovery Ventilator

PrairieBurner | Posted in Green Products and Materials on


I’m looking for thoughts and opinions on recovery ventilators.

I live in northern Illinois.  The house has 3 human and 3 feline occupants.  It is ~1500 sq. ft. including the conditioned basement.

I’ve read the articles etc. about not much difference between an HRV and ERV in terms of moisture evacuation.  That being said, I’d prefer an HRV due to absurd quantities of moisture in the house in the winter now that it has been sealed up so well.

I’m looking at the Panasonic Inteli-balance FV-10VEC2 and Broan HRV160TE.  I’m focusing on these due to their price, efficiencies (SRE and ECM motors), and availability.

What are thoughts/opinions on these to machines?  Or, does anyone recommend any other devices for this application?


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  1. PrairieBurner | | #1

    I see the Broan has "integrated balancing dampers" but I don't see any info about the Panasonic. Does anyone know if it does? How important are they?

  2. user-2310254 | | #2


    You need ventilation, and the reviews for the latest Intelli Balance (with boost mode) suggest it offers good bang for the buck. Even so, it may not solve your humidity issues. Have you been tracking your levels using a reliable sensor? Mechanical de-humidification is sometimes necessary to keep readings in the safe range.

  3. PrairieBurner | | #3

    I've been keeping track but just with cheap $3 humidity gauge/thermometers. We do have Panasonic bathroom fans in each of our bathrooms but the winter is terrible. That's why I'm leaning towards an HRV.

  4. exeric | | #4

    I just saw this thread. There's two ways moisture can be getting in and that's from inside the house and from outside the house. Since it sounds like generalized humidity and you haven't described anything that is localized to one leaking location it may be your bathroom causing the humidity issues. There is evidence for that since it sounds like it's only occurred since you've tightened the house up and it seems like the outside air would be pretty dry in Northern Illinois this time of year.

    Is it possible that your bathroom fan isn't working effectively? This would be evidenced by mirrors fogging up even if you turned on the fan prior to a shower. There would be two possible reasons for that:
    1. The ducting is restricted or clogged.
    2. There is no makeup air vent to allow the bathroom air to be evacuated. It might be that tightening the house is what caused this problem.

    If it isn't related to the bathroom then my suggestion would be basement moisture seeping into the house.

    1. Expert Member
      RICHARD EVANS | | #6

      Good questions, Eric!

  5. Expert Member
    RICHARD EVANS | | #5


    Can you tell us more about the house? Was it recently built or renovated? If so, elevated moisture levels might be temporary.

    It sounds like the volume of your house is fairly small so I could see how relative humidity might become an issue. Our house is 1500 sqft and we have a Panasonic Intellebalance ERV. It works great unless we have several people over for several days in the winter. At those times, I can't keep the CO2 or humidity levels down and need to crack a window or two.

    This is mainly a problem when it is below zero as the machine runs less often to prevent from freezing.

    I think an HRV might help you but I wonder if it is going to remove enough moisture on its on. A CERV unit can also dehumidify the home and do a better job of conditioning the air.

    1. PrairieBurner | | #9

      I guess I may have had to reply to your comment for you to get a notification.

      See below for more info about our house.


  6. PrairieBurner | | #7

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Our home is a 1911 craftsman style bungalow. 1 3/4 stories. I have completely renovated it down to the 2x4 studs from the outside. Much of the home's walls had no insulation in cavities.

    R-15 fiberglass batts->plywood sheathing with all seams taped->house wrap->ridgid foam (most is 1.5" foil faced polyiso with a small addition that has 4" polyiso/xps)->radiant barrier->strapping->vinyl siding

    All new windows; Alpen ZR-6 and a ZR-9.

    Roof assembly is has no less than R-30 (sloped areas) with the main areas R-70 (R-90 over the addition). It is vented and I think I did a pretty good job sealing holes to stop leakage/stack effect.

    The basement. We are at the top of a glacial hill so drainage is excellent. We have no sump pump and no need for one; never any water issues. That being said, I dug around the entire perimeter 4'+ below grade, parged and waterproofed (not damp proofed), and covered with 1.5" or 2" XPS. It's nice and dry.

    Our home never had high humidity problems before due to how terribly leaky it was. The first winter after I started all this it started going up and has since. This year has been especially bad since my wife and son are home always due to Covid.

    The bath fans are both on REALLY short, straight duct runs and are working properly. There is no real spike in humidity post showering. I really think the humidity is just due to living.

    I'm kind of leaning toward the Broan HRV160TE. Does anyone have any experience with this device?

  7. Jon_R | | #8

    The Broan will remove much more Winter humidity than the Panasonic. Cracking open a window will be far less efficient.

    Do attempt source control before cranking up the HRV to reduce humidity.

  8. user-2310254 | | #10


    If you are having trouble controlling humidity, you might want to consider a ventilating dehumidifier such as an UltraAire. UltraAire also has an in-wall unit you could combine with another ventilation strategy. To keep costs down, you could just buy an EnergyStar dehumidifier and stick it somewhere where out-of-the-way. There are lots of ways to ventilate and manage moisture.

  9. PrairieBurner | | #11

    I am leaning toward the Broan HRV160TE (which apparently is the same thing as the Vanee 90hv+)

    Does anyone, or your clients, have one? Can I hear your opinions on the device?


  10. PrairieBurner | | #12

    Does anyone have experience with the Broan HRV160TE?

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