Improving air quality in a building is a goal that both the heat recovery unit (HRV) and the air conditioning unit fulfil, but the similarity between the two systems actually ends there. Learn the difference between a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery and air conditioning and what you can do to help the recuperator to cool the air in your home.
In the summer when temperatures are breaking records, many of us want to hide in the rooms that are pleasantly cool. That is why many houses are equipped with an air conditioning system, which is designed to cool the air to a specific temperature. The air conditioner treats the air that is only in the room, which makes it different than the heat recovery ventilator. The MVHR system, on the other hand, is a type of heat recovery ventilation, which exchanges used air in the building (i.e. from inside the house) for fresh air free of dust and other pollutants (supplied from the outside).
During the summer, the heat recovery unit helps to lower the room temperature, but it will never be as effective as air conditioning, which can be used to precisely control the temperature in the building. In the period of lower ambient air temperatures, the free cooling process can be used in HRVs, which consists in increasing the share of outside air to cool the room (so-called direct free cooling). A good solution is to combine MVHR system and air conditioning systems in a harmonious duo, which will support cooling and providing good air quality.
Can the heat recovery ventilator be equipped with additional elements that supply cooler air to the house? Yes. An example is a ground-source heat exchanger. The operating principle is that in summer it supplies the HRV with air cooler than the outside temperature, and warmer in winter. It takes the energy stored in the ground at a depth of about 2 meters, where the temperature is between 6 and 12°C regardless of the season. This causes cooler air to flow into the heat recovery unit in summer.
Another example of an element that will lower the supply air temperature is a cooling unit. This device not only cools the air, but also makes it less humid. This has an additional impact on improving the comfort of household members.
Ventilation system with heat recovery has nothing to do with air conditioning, and an air conditioning system is not ventilation. Therefore, these two terms cannot be used interchangeably. However, this does not change the fact that both systems can complement each other perfectly. If you want to provide high air quality for your home, you should consider combining recuperation with air conditioning. It is also important that the recuperator can support the operation of the air conditioning unit by supplying (recovering) cold air. This is how heat exchangers operate, which are one of the most important elements of the recuperator - transferring energy.
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