a blue and red diagram with arrows showing the air inflow and outflow of a heat recovery ventilator

Home ventilation in cold climates can be tricky. Forced-air furnaces can circulate warm air throughout your home but they don’t bring fresh air in.

HRVs, or heat recovery ventilators, are systems that are connected to your central HVAC system that expel your stale indoor air and bring in fresh air from outside.

As the name suggests, HRVs are equipped with heat exchangers, so they maintain the temperature of your indoor air without putting any extra strain on your furnace.

If you live in a cold climate and are looking for a ventilation solution, an HRV may be a good choice for you. However, you should take into account if you have space to install one with your current HVAC setup.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the HRVs available to purchase. As always, if you have more questions or concerns, contact a local HVAC company to come out and take a look.

Estimates for new installations are typically free of charge.

10 Top Heat Recovery Ventilators

Zehnder’s Novus 300 (175 cfm)

Zehnder is a trusted name in the HVAC industry and has provided different types of heat recovery ventilator systems for passive homes in various parts of the world.

Its most recent entry, the Novus 300 ventilation unit, is one of the world’s most efficient models, boasting 93% efficiency. In addition, it is Passive House Institute-rated.

Higher efficiency means lower operation costs for you. The automatic flow control on the intake and exhaust streams allows you to control how the machine works in terms of humidity and air quality.

The Novus 300 comes with powerful ECM motors for balancing and energy efficiency, frost protection, and ERV modes. Its capacity is 175 cfm, making it one of the leading HRV products on the market. 

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Build Equinox CERV 

The CERV is a smart heat-recovery ventilator system designed to maximize comfort and improve indoor air quality in homes. 

A Build Equinox CERV HRV unit is show
Courtesy of Build Equinox

The CERV can improve your home’s ambient air with its proprietary Zone Configuration technology.

Zone dampers installed in the ducts can be linked to switches and other devices, allowing the CERV to prioritize kitchen ventilation for different situations, such as cooking in the kitchen or showering in the bathroom.

The CERV does not use an ERV exchanger core. Instead, it uses a high-efficiency heat pump to transfer heat between fresh air and the outgoing exhaust. 

Furthermore, it utilizes advanced ECM fan technology to circulate fresh air within the house efficiently and quietly.

All CERV units come with MERV 13. The CERV features a filter access panel that allows homeowners to monitor and replace defective filters. In addition, a full-color touchscreen enables users to interact with the CERV.

The CERV also plays a role in dehumidification. It comes with CERV-ICE, an online control and monitoring tool that lets you check air quality settings from anywhere in the world using a simple mobile device.

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

The Broan HE Series – HRV 250 TE

Broan provides several high-quality heat recovery ventilator and ERV models that are highly efficient and reliable. In addition, the systems are known for their quiet operation and comfort.

One of its more recent entries, the HRV 250 TE, is specially designed for medium- to large-sized residential spaces. 

A promo shot of the Broan HRV 250 TE
Courtesy of Brone Nutone

The system is ideal for colder climates and has a heat recovery efficiency of 66% when the outside temperature is -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

More importantly, it uses a specially designed ECM motor that only consumes 18 W of power from the grid, making it one of the more energy-efficient HRV units.

It comes with optional HEPA filtration that can capture up to 99.97% of allergens in the air, including microscopic particles, to lower your risk of respiratory problems. This is a good choice for anyone suffering from asthma, allergies or other respiratory conditions.

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Broan HRV80S HRV with Side Ports 

Broan is a trusted name in the HVAC industry specializing in home ventilation units and HRV systems for years now. So it comes as no surprise that it has been featured for the second time on this list.

The HRV80S system provides a controlled way of ventilating a space while minimizing energy loss. In addition, the unit is durable, relatively easy to maintain, and backed up by a warranty.

The Broan Flex series is ideal for homes and apartments where space is limited and ventilation is necessary. The Flex Series features a compact design for ease of installation, saving you the cost of labor. 

It weighs only 30 pounds, allowing you to install it without opening the unit.

You can buy the HRV80S on Amazon.

Honeywell VNT5150E1000 Truefresh 150 CFM

Honeywell offers several different HRV models designed for both commercial buildings and residential homes. One of its flagship products is the Truefresh VNT5150E1000 series.

This heat recovery ventilator unit uses Honeywell’s Balanced Ventilation System to reduce the need for overhead ducting, making installation affordable for homeowners on a budget. 

This unique approach simplifies both installation and maintenance.

A side profile of the Honeywell VNT5150E1000 Truefresh heat recovery ventilator
Courtesy of Honeywell

This HRV can filter out pollutants such as carbon monoxide and lingering odors from cooking, smoking, and more.

The unit comes with a five-year limited warranty on the unit and its components.

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Fantech Flex 104 CFM HRV 

The Fantech line includes many high-quality HRV units known for their guaranteed performance and a great warranty. The Fantech Flex 100H ES series has recirculation defrost capabilities and includes four top ports and five ducts.

The unit is ideal for single-family homes, multi-family homes, apartment buildings, and townhouses.

The Fantech Flex is designed with a built-in TurboTouch feature that increases exhaust capacity by 50%.

A closer look at its design shows an aluminum heat recovery core that improves heat transfer capacity while also taking less space than regular cores.

The unique design also allows the heat recovery cores to withstand significant variations in temperature.

The Fantech Flex is ideal for climates where the temperature changes very quickly, supported by Fantech’s proprietary technology, Winter Guard Defrost.

It works by automatically adjusting the recirculation defrost sequence without depressurizing your home, allowing for a seamless transition between Defrost and Ventilation modes. 

A conveniently located access panel makes maintenance simple and easy.

VENTS-US Micra 150 Single-Room HRV

The Micra 150 single-room heat recovery ventilator is a lesser-known device prized for its efficiency and relative affordability. It is designed to provide ventilation for a single room in residential and commercial properties.

The EC motors feature forward-curved blades to improve air supply and expel exhaust. It features built-in overheating protection for extra durability.

Thanks to EC technologies, the Micra 150 consumes little energy.

Its heat exchanger utilizes an advanced plate counter-flow polystyrene recovery core with a heat exchange efficiency of 85-88%.

This technology allows the exchanger to use the heat energy to increase the intake air temperature while lowering the HVAC system’s operating load.

The unit also has a control panel that includes a remote control device. It supports three operation modes:

  • First speed – air capacity of up to 35 CFM
  • Second speed – air capacity of up to 53 CFM
  • Third speed – air capacity of up to 71 CFM

Depending on your needs, you can choose to deploy just one or several MICRA 150 units throughout their house for ventilation.

Each unit can serve an area spanning 1200 sq. feet. 

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

VTRONIC Wall Mounted Ductless Ventilation System 

VTRONIC Technology is a lesser-known Chinese manufacturer that specializes in HVAC systems. They are known for providing ventilation systems that are highly efficient while making very minimal noise.

Their most recent line of products, the wall-mounted HEPA ventilation systems, utilize a novel adjustable-length duct regulated by an inner duct.

The HRV system features three filters to clean up fresh air from the outside. Its near silent operation is due to the use of high-performing brushless motors and a wall-mounted, fully sealed design. 

The unit is incredibly energy-efficient and draws under six watts of power. It is worth noting that the unit can operate for capacities of up to 35 CFM, making it ideal for residential purposes only.

The VTRONIC comes with a fully functional remote control that allows users to control various functions.

It is backed by a one-year warranty. 

Click here to check prices. 

Aprilaire Model 8100 – ERV system 

Aprilaire provides a wide range of air quality solutions in North America, and has been in business since 1938, innovating with the latest humidifiers.

Its recent whole-home Model 8100 ventilation system is arguably one of the most energy-efficient ERV systems in the world.

The 8100 can be controlled with a thermostat, allowing users to ventilate their homes on a schedule.

This system will reduce air pollutants such as bacteria, odors, and viruses. The units are compatible with homes up to 4,500 square feet in size and reduce indoor humidity levels for a higher degree of comfort at a lower cost.

Maintenance costs remain low because the device is made with highly durable parts. This unit comes with a five-year warranty.  

It is fully compatible in both the summer and winter seasons for year-round comfort. 

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information. 

Vents US DVUT 300 HB EC Commercial HRV/ERV  

This mammoth of a device is designed for commercial installations in schools, offices, and other public spaces. It has a whopping 341 CFM air capacity and a heat recovery efficiency of up to 97%.

The best part is that it does not require a duct system and provides very efficient ventilation for newly built offices.

Instead of a duct system, the unit supplies fresh air through a centrifugal supply fan. This simple design provides users with precise control of the indoor air.

Special MERV8 panel filters provide air purification, but they can be upgraded with HEPA filters for stringent air quality requirements. 

All DVUT units feature a heat exchanger made of either aluminum or polystyrene. The heat from the extracted air is transferred to the incoming air with the help of the heat exchanger, significantly reducing heat losses and your energy bills.

The unit is designed for both warm and cold weather. This is not something you are going to install in your home, but if you’re looking for an HRV to handle commercial spaces, this is a good model to consider.

Click here to visit the manufacturer’s website for more information. 

Conclusion – The Best HRV System for You 

Make sure to buy your heat recovery ventilator based on compatibility, meaning you need to consider the following various factors:

  • Whether you opt for the entire house or a single room
  • Make and model of the unit
  • If the system is being installed in a new home or an older home
  • Style of system you chose
  • Existing ductwork and space considerations
  • Labor and materials required
  • The systems’ efficiency (high-efficiency systems can cost more)
  • Warranty options
  • Climate

The price of each unit depends on where you live. We have provided a link to each device, but its availability may depend on your location.

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