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ERV a bad choice for a tiny house near Toronto?

Travis Marttinen | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I am building a 187 square foot tiny house for my family of 3 in Barrie, Ontario and have some questions about ventilation. The house is decently well insulated and airtight, with 6 ½” inches of XPS on the walls and roof, 5 ½” in the floor, and a Solitex Mento 1000 exterior membrane.

First off, I have purchased a Panasonic WhisperComfort ERV for its affordability and size, which I had planned to install when I do the finished electrical work in the spring (surface mount wiring), but after doing a bunch more research, have come to the realization that the ERV may only add to the indoor humidity in the winter.

We have been keeping a window/skylight cracked open when necessary for ventilation, and running a dehumidifier intermittently when necessary. If we didn’t take these measures the humidity tends to get high.

So my question is, would it still be reasonable to stick with the plan for the Panasonic ERV, or would it be better to scrap that idea entirely and either do an exhaust only setup, or splurge on an HRV like the lunos e2?

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  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    It won't add humidity during the winter- it's always going to be a net moisture purger when the outdoor air has a lower dew point than the indoor air (which is going to be true just about any time the outdoor temp is below +5C even after you've tamed the very high humidity issues.)

    The Panasonic FV-04VE1 is prone to condensation freeze-up issues in your climate, and the moisture transfer core will become damaged with extended cold weather use. The map on page 7 of the manual suggests limiting it's use to the months of April through November in your climate:

    If you can return it and get your money back, that cash is better applied to another approach.

  2. Travis Marttinen | | #2


    I did not mean to say that it would add to the problem, but just that it would not get rid of the humidity as well as other options may.

    Yes, thank you, I will look into it.

    Would an exhaust only fan with separate intake be a good choice, or would it be better to go with an HRV? Performance-wise for this situation, and not regarding cost. I know that this is a fairly unique situation compared to typical construction.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Here are links to two articles that you may wish to read:

    HRV or ERV?

    Designing a Good Ventilation System

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