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Community and Q&A

ERV – Sizing and location with wood stove?

Thinair469 | Posted in Mechanicals on

With the tremendous assistance from all you folks, my Bozeman MT historic bungalow replica is well underway, my son and I have got the framing completed, the roof is on and the drain, waste, and vent are installed. It sits on a basement that equals the first living floor of 1,300 sq. ft., and then the two bedrooms upstairs add another 750 sq. ft. The air here is arid, can be hot in the summer an for a couple of weeks, damn cold in the winter. Due to the roof orientation, I’ve only been able to do a solar hot water system vs. solar electric. Happy with the 2″ outsulation install, the jams were a challenge. Now onto the strapping and siding.

So with this all complete it’s time for things like planning my electrical curcuits, mini split placements, and what to do about an HRV/ERV? What I hope to get help with from the community here is how big of a unit I’ll need given the sq. ft. of the home and where to put the intake and exhaust vents. The 2nd story ceiling is the bottom side of my roof, a sealed and vaulted 11 7/8 tgi system that is off limits to any lights of gadgets. I’ve been looking into Venmar ERV’s and am wondering if this is a good selection given my some size. To further inform, the first floor is a nearly wide open format with a Pacific Energy NEO 2.5 woodstove going in centrally located. The stove begs the question as to whether or not with an HRV or ERV if I’ll need an outside air kit for the woodstove. It goes without saying that the house will be tight, all sills and sheathing tops and bottoms caulked, all plywood sheathing taped with DOW weathermate, then foamed with XPS, strapping at every seam as well, and attention to detail inside and out for leakage.


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You seem to be confusing two separate questions.

    Question 1 is: What's a good mechanical ventilation system for my house? The purpose of a mechanical ventilation system is to provide fresh air to occupants (you and your family). It has nothing to do with whether you heat your home with a wood stove or some other appliance.

    Question 2 is: Does my wood stove need ducted outdoor combustion air?

    As I said, these are separate questions. ERV manufacturers and HRV manufacturers are clear: they all point out that ERVs and HRVs are not makeup air appliances. They are balanced ventilation systems.

    For information on designing a good mechanical ventilation system, start here: Designing a Good Ventilation System.

    Concerning the second question -- whether or not your wood stove needs ducted outdoor combustion air -- there is no clear answer. You'll hear a variety of opinions, ranging from "a wood stove doesn't belong in a tight house" to "outdoor air kits don't work and are sometimes hazardous" to "just open a window."

    To get started in the process of educating yourself on this controversy, read these two articles:

    All About Wood Stoves

    How to Provide Makeup Air for a Wood Stove

    You should also click the links listed in the "Related Articles" boxes that appear in those two articles to learn more.

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