View Full Version : Any experts on residential air exchangers, northern climates?

Larry Edgerton
11-27-2017, 9:40 AM
I am in need of one, and am not well versed in the latest offerings. I am a builder so am not totally in the dark, but I always sub out that kind of work.

Tons of glass
Superinsulated, other than the acre of glass.;) Other than the windows, the house is very air tight. No vapor barriers, perm balanced wall assemblies.
Forced air heat with both NG and wood furnaces, both with outside air intake.
9' ceilings, two people, both work during the day.

Climate is often damp here as I am located in the Straits area and surrounded by the Great Lakes. I am having a hard time keeping my interior humidity down to an acceptable level, but the outside humidity is often higher than I want to bring in. I looked into the type that transfers humidity, but they do not work at the sub-zero temps that we often get mid winter.

My heating guy that I trusted with this kind of thing just passed away suddenly, so I have to find a new one, but in the meantime, any knowledge or references that you can recommend would be appreciated.

Thanks, Larry

Alan Rutherford
11-27-2017, 12:36 PM
http://hvac-talk.com/ A great resource for anything HVAC-related as long as you don't sound like you want to DIY.

If all you want is to control humidity, there are whole-house dehumidifiers for $1,000+ and portables. We got a Frigidaire 70-pints-per-day portable (https://www.amazon.com/70-Pint-Dehumidifier-Effortless-Humidity-Control/dp/B00UWP07LK/ref=sr_1_1/134-3279838-6953945) for about $250. It keeps the house at 50% in Florida humidity during the Spring & Fall when we aren't running the HVAC and we turn it off at night. We have to empty it about once a day but it could be installed to drain somewhere and there's another version that can pump up to a drain.

Jerry Bruette
11-27-2017, 5:00 PM

I would check the website for the brand of NG forced air furnace you have. Many of the furnace manufacturers also make what they call an HRV (heat recovering ventilator) or Air to Air Heat Exchanger. We had our house built in 1988 and installed one in 1996 when the ductwork was installed for the central air. None of the three contractors we got bids from had ever heard of them, and neither did Public Service, the local utility company that certified our house as being what they called a "good sense home".

Ours is made by Carrier and has taken care of the humidity in our house for 21 years. Even though the humidity outside is sometimes higher than inside the unit makes up for it on the days when it's dryer outside than in. I'm not sure how many exchanges per hour ours is setup for but I know they're adjustable by adjusting the fan speed. I can get it so dry inside the house that we can see the light show from static when you pull the sheets back on the bed.

Our unit, and I'm sure the newer ones, has a defrost mode for the subzero days. There's a damper that closes and recircs air in the unit to prevent the exchanger core from freezing. The unit hangs from the basement ceiling and hooks into the ductwork from your air handler, plus you'll need a place to drain the condensate that's taken out of the air.

I know mine works in subzero weather, I'm not that far south of you and we get plenty of subzero days. I'd check with a good Carrier dealer and see what they have to offer.

Larry Edgerton
11-27-2017, 5:36 PM
Thanks Jerry, some things I did not know, gives me more specific things to search for. The humidity is kind of a secondary concern, changing the air is primary. But.. It is good to know that they do not create a new problem. We get more moisture on this side of the lake because of the prevailing winds blowing it in off the lake, but not that much. You are probably about 90-100 miles south of me is all.

Funny thing, I was in Peshtigo last Sunday. I used to race off road and before the hiway went in went through Peshtigo all the time. Needed gas so I figured the businesses in town could use the money.

Miss the old roads.........

Thanks, Larry

Mark Bolton
11-27-2017, 5:52 PM
We've had several of the Honeywell TruFresh systems installed in ground up residential projects with good results from the homeowners to date. They are pricey to say the least but in a super tight home there isnt much option. We are not as far north but especially in commercial work many are suffering a lot from "sick building syndrome" from occupants. I wouldnt go without one for myself.

Jerry Bruette
11-27-2017, 10:53 PM
Funny thing, I was in Peshtigo last Sunday. I used to race off road and before the hiway went in went through Peshtigo all the time. Needed gas so I figured the businesses in town could use the money.

Miss the old roads.........

Thanks, Larry

Had I known you were passing through I would have had you stop for a cold one. I pass through your neighborhood about twice a year when I go to New York to visit my son and grandkids. Maybe we'll bump into each other sometime.