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Community and Q&A

HRV/ERV systems with humidity control and conditioned air

T_Barker | Posted in General Questions on

Any suggestions for residential HRV/ERV systems that include:
– Fully integrated humidification/de-humidification, and
– Fresh air intake conditioned to match interior air temperature (heated or cooled), and
– All controlled by electronic control panel and/or smart app

Ideally, I’d like this in ductless “self contained” paired units (intake/exhaust) but that’s probably asking a lot.

I know some of the Zehnder ducted systems have a ground source heat loop for conditioned air temperature, but I’d really like to find humidification/de-humidification built in as well.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    T. Barker,
    There are two manufacturers in North America that offer ventilation systems with heat recovery and conditioning (via an air-source heat pump). These two appliances are the CERV and the Minotair Boreal.

    For more information on the CERV, see this article: "A Balanced Ventilation System With a Built-In Heat Pump."

    For more information on the Minotair Boreal, see "Another North American Magic Box."

    Either of these appliances will provide a limited amount of dehumidification. Neither will provide humidification -- and that's a good thing, as I explained to you in another Q&A thread where you asked a similar question. (Here is a link to my answer: "Air-source heat pump / Minisplits with humidification.")

    1. T_Barker | | #2

      OK, thanks. I'll look at those two products.
      With regards to your response in the other thread, I am very skeptical. Even in a new super-insulated house in the middle of a northern winter as I describe, I'll believe no humidification is required when I see it with my own eyes. I need at least 40% relative indoor humidity during the cold, dry winter months.

    2. Trevor_Lambert | | #3

      Wow, I never even imagined something like this would exist. I wish I had known about the Minotair about a year ago. That could have handled 90% of my heating load, given me cooling I don't have any of and cost far less than the heating system and HRV I have.

      1. DAVID GOODYEAR | | #6

        The Minotair Boreal is now called the Pentacare v12. Its a nice unit, fairly new. I have been talking with them about the specifications. Seems that they now have ratings that can be used with PPHP for passive house modelling. They achieve their heating and cooling by using high ventilation rates. To achieve the required ventilation rates, the ducts to the outside need to be 8". The main supply/return in the house also needs to be 8", branches need to 6 and the final runs to each room can be no smaller than 5". According to the company, they are really meant for new construction or complete retrofit of the duct system is required.

        i think they run about $7000 cad. for a low energy house, I could see it working well but it is hard to say if its a good idea or not. it would probably distribute warm/cool air better than an hrv and a minisplit installed in a central location. However, having the functionality coupled into a single appliance could be troublesome if components fail.

        If I start building a second passive house i will definitely look into the option a little closer.

        1. Yupster | | #7

          It does have a recirculation mode, so it can provide temperature control even when it's not ventilating.

          1. DAVID GOODYEAR | | #8

            this is true, during recirculation mode, if there is a call for heat, it uses a special bypass to pull exterior air into the unit through the heat pump and then back to the outside. it extracts heat from air entering that exterior air intake and then pushes colder air outside back out through the stale air duct to the outside

        2. Trevor_Lambert | | #9

          At $7000 it's a little less attractive. In Martin's article he quoted a price of $4200CAD. Duct runs of 5" would have been challenging as well. I guess would have to go back about 2 years to have worked it in at the planning stage. I have to say, I don't really understand why 5" ducts would be required. 250cfm is not all that much more than my system is designed for, and most of my runs are twinned 2.5", which is probably about 1/3 the capacity.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    So you've discovered another reason to become a regular reader of GBA!

  3. davorradman | | #5

    Are there any reasonably priced such products available in Europe, that anyone is aware of?
    By reasonably priced I mean less than 10K€.

  4. Tim03 | | #10

    Hi all, I'm looking at the Minotair Pentacare V12 for a new build of a chalet style 1400 sq ft cottage. Primary heating/cooling will be through radiant slab on main level and above floor radiant panels in loft, supplied by an air-to-water HP. Minotair would provide dehumidification to allow radiant floor cooling in the summer (with dew point control), as well as ventilation and a bit of auxiliary heating/cooling. Any comments on using the Minotair in this system design? Can I rely on this unit for dehumidification in a small, fairly tight envelope? So many questions! haha

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