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Community and Q&A

ERV with HEPA filtration options

m4tr1x | Posted in Mechanicals on

Hi Everyone,

Been a lurker here and I have a question and looking for advice.

Im building a new home, my previous home burned down. Im in Southern California, climate zone 3b, and my house will be pretty air tight, built with sip panels and using mini splits for heating and cooling. House is around 4300 sqft, I talked with some people and they recommended 3 Panasonic FV-04VE1 ERV units for ventilation throughout because of the lack of attic spaces and expenses.

The problem I have is that those Panasonic units dont have that great of a filter system, and where Im at, it gets pretty dusty and dirty because of the environment outside. I want to incorporate a HEPA filtration system with this house.

So what are my options here? It doesnt look like you can hook up to the Panasonic unit FV-04VE1 units .

The HEPA systems I have seen are by Fantech (CM 3000 standalone unit, needs to be connected through collars), and the Broan ERVH100S (which is an ERV with HEPA all-in-one) .

This house will be as close to net zero and energy efficient as possible . Which option would you choose, regarding ERV/HEPA? The Broan all in one unit or a separate ERV with a HEPA unit attached like the Fantech? Budget is also a concern and I am not looking at ducting throughout house. Very minimal.

Opinions and thoughts are welcome, thanks for your time.

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  1. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #1

    If you are building a tight house, it shouldn't be very dusty. Or are you intending to keep the windows open?

    What type of HVAC are you installing? It is fairly common to put HEPA or electrostatic filtration on the air handler. This type of system will move a lot more air and seems better suited for minimizing dust than an ERV.

    On the FV-04VE1. I have a couple of these units. It is good bang for the buck, but you might want to consider the Intel Balance 100. With it, you can create a balanced ventilation system and promote air mixing more easily. I would imagine that two units would be enough to service your home. I know the SIPs create some challenges, but you could always build soffits or a service cavity.

  2. User avatar
    Michael Maines | | #2

    M4tr1x, HEPA level filtration is roughly equivalent to MERV 15-17, and is very tight--so tight that it affects performance. Most people are happy with somewhat less stringent filtration.

    If that is possible for you, the highest-performance decentralized ERVs I know of are the Lunos E2 (available with a MERV-8-9 filter, which filters out larger dust and pollen particles, and the Zehnder Comfoair 70, available with a MERV-13 filter, which catches mid-sized dust and pollen, and some mold spores ( The Zehnder requires a thick wall for installation, which you probably don't have in southern California.

    For more information, read this Q+A:

  3. Lance Peters | | #3

    The Panasonic Intelli Balance 100 that Steve Knapp suggested is supposed to have a MERV 13 filter upgrade option. Not quite HEPA, but pretty tight.

  4. Charlie Sullivan | | #4

    If you are wanting to keep the inside of the house clean more easily, you don't need very fancy filtration. If you are worried about urban pollution being a health hazard, the very fine particulates are the biggest health concerns, and you would want to get as good filtration as possible.

  5. Trevor Lambert | | #5

    If you are still in the design stage, I would re-examine including a fully distributed system. Installing a ductless ventilation system seems like something you would do in a situation where you had no other option, as in a retrofit.

  6. Lance Peters | | #6

    Agreed with Trevor, if building from scratch and air quality is a high priority, a ducted system should be considered.

    Zehnder HRVs have a nice duct system consisting of multiple small diameter tubes, but it is a pricey add-on to a pricey HRV system.

    Dettson, a maker of small gas furnaces, has their Smart Duct system that installs completely within 2x4 walls. This is originally designed for heating/cooling, but I don't see why this couldn't work for fresh air as well?

  7. m4tr1x | | #7

    Hi everyone,

    Steve, yes sometimes the windows will be open. HVAC that will be installed will all be minisplits throughout home, the ductless ones. And to confirm, the FV-04VE1 that you have, where the air comes into the house, is there any way to duct it? I was thinking if there is a way to hook up a HEPA system to the Panasonic unit. If not, I guess I can use the Panasonic Intellibalance 100 and just do a few feet of one exhaust and one supply duct, to somewhat recreate what the FV-04VE1 is doing?

    Hi Michael, those products look pretty cool, do you know who sells that Zehnder in the US? Cant seem to find someone who sells it?

    Charlie, yes Im worried about the environmental pollution, things get windy here and it aggravates my breathing. Have issues with breathing since being deployed to Iraq, so its a big concern of mine.

    Trevor, we will have vaulted ceilings and doing a fully distributed system will add a bunch more costs because we would have to create faux attic spaces, and that will add a lot more to our budget, and we would rather not see the ductwork. From what I have seen too, those Spot ERVs, like the Panasonic one, work well.

    Again, thanks to everyone helping out. Does anyone have info or reviews on the Broan ERV with HEPA built in? I cant find anyone talking about it, besides their own product page.

  8. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #8

    There is no ducting option for the FV-04VE1 and the onboard filter is pretty basic. Also be aware that you cannot install it in any area with excessive moisture, such as a bathroom.

  9. User avatar
    Michael Maines | | #9

    M4tr1x, Zehnder only sells direct. You can contact them here: Their support staff is top notch and can help you design the system that works for you.

    Despite what others have said, I think decentralized ventilation can work well. I've been involved in a couple of new builds recently where we used them, because we wanted near-Passivhaus performance, and didn't want to deal with ductwork. It's not necessarily a less expensive option, though.

  10. T Carlson | | #10

    With the panasonic or any other device drawing air through a duct to the unit you can install an inline filter box.
    Fantech fb6
    Soler and palau mfl-(duct size)
    Theres more.

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