SQFT Studios ERV Guide

What is an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)?
And why do you put one in every unit you build?

Here at SQFT Studios, we install an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) in every unit we build. When we tell clients that we’re going to install this into their new Home Studio or ADU, they ask what an ERV is and why they are paying for one to be installed. We thought this would be a great question to address in our blog post this week. This is our guide to ERVs.

What is an ERV?

An ERV is a piece of mechanical equipment that brings fresh air into the home and pushes stale air out. With current building science, modern homes are tightly sealed. Doors, windows, and even the framing of the house are much tighter than construction from just 10 years ago and leak much less. In order to ensure that sufficient fresh air is in your home, we use a piece of mechanical equipment.

What if it is really cold (or really hot) outside?

If the temperature differential between the outside air and the inside air is high, bringing fresh air directly in would be uncomfortable and a waste of energy. With the ERV, it passes the incoming fresh air and exhaust air streams across a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger pre-heats or pre-cools the outside air with the energy from the conditioned inside air. Although this is not a 100% efficient process, it adds up to a lot of savings when it comes to heating and cooling cost.

What if it’s really humid outside?

An ERV also exchanges the humidity, keeping the damp, sticky air outside. There is another type of ventilator called a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) which does not address the humidity issue. For this reason, we stick with the ERV units.

This sounds expensive. How much am I paying for it?

The equipment is less than $500 and installs easily in the ceiling. It has a small fan inside that is very energy efficient.

How big is this thing? Is it loud? How intrusive is it?

The model we use is a small ceiling mounted (recessed) unit that is just a little larger than a bathroom ceiling fan. It has a white grill that does not stand out on a white ceiling. It has two switches, one for on/off, and one for hi/lo for the fan. It runs very quietly at

With our passion for healthy living, an ERV is a perfect fit to ensure constant fresh air in your Home Studio or ADU. Stay tuned as we will feature other healthy living components featured in our Home Studios and ADU. If you have any further questions about ERVs and healthy living, feel free to contact us.

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