I think we need an HRV for air exchange in our house, but I have concerns about the noise levels and can find no data on this topic.
We have a 1600 sq.ft., very open plan, super-insulated, extremely tight house. We live in a cold, dry, windy climate – Colorado at 8000′ (winter winds avg ~20mph with gusts to 60, winter temps can get as cold as -28F, but are usually closer to +24- highs). The house is heated with passive solar and we have a small woodstove for backup heat (it has an outside air intake). We have a kitchen exhaust fan and bath fans, but rarely use them as they are too noisy. The extra moisture isn’t a problem in this climate. Even with quieter fans, make-up air would be a problem.
Most of the time, when at home, and when sunny, we open a window for fresh air- even in winter (we usually need to to cool the house down). If it is cloudy, particularly cold, or we will be gone for some time, we keep the windows closed. I have noticed that when the house has been closed up for a couple of days there is a definite musty smell, and my eyes get irritated, so I know we need more air exchange.
The problem is that without a basement, attic, or crawl space, the HRV has to be installed in our living space, so it has to be quiet. Any ideas on quiet HRVs of the appropriate size? The other problem seems to be that the smaller HRVs have fewer control options. It would seem we need ~40cfm to 100cfm (new 62.2 standards vs. .35 air exchanges/hr) and the units I’ve seen in that size seem to pretty basic. I could go up in size, but assume noise levels, as well as power consumption would also rise. I might like to program the HRV to come on intermittantly, or at low level sometimes and high at others. Any suggestions?
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