The health and safety of their families are at the top of many homeowners’ lists. This includes the quality of the air they breathe in. One way to ensure this is with ERVs but many want to know first and ask, “how much do ERVs cost?”
An ERV installation has a national average cost of $2,000. This average cost consists of the unit, installation, and other costs.
Of course, this average cost will still change depending on a variety of other factors including the brand, size of your home, and materials used. There are also other costs to consider including the maintenance of the unit.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of ERV, what it is, and how much it costs to have one installed. We’ll also go over what factors affect the price and what other costs you also keep in mind.
What is ERV?
All homeowners prioritize the health and safety of their families. One factor to consider to ensure their safety is the quality of the air they breathe in.
Daily activities like cooking, washing clothes, chores, operating appliances, and even breathing accumulate emissions.
This makes the air inside the house stuffy, making it difficult to breathe comfortably. This can lead to health complications. It can also damage and compromise a building’s construction integrity.
This is exactly what an ERV helps with.
ERV stands for Energy Recovery Ventilator. ERV is an air ventilator system that ensures air quality inside homes.
What it does is take stale indoor air and vent and exhaust into the outdoors. At the same time, it draws in a new, fresh supply of air from the outside to the inside and distributes it to the rest of the house.
This ensures there is a continuous supply of fresh air inside living spaces, preventing family members from breathing in stuffy and stale air.
As it works to exhaust air out and draw in the incoming air, an exchange of heat energy and moisture also takes place between the two airstreams.
This means (depending on the season), some of the heat or chill and moisture from the outgoing air is retained and reused to preheat or pre-cool and moist the supply of fresh air.
How does it work?
An ERV system has two air ducts – one for the outgoing air and the other for the incoming air.
When both streams of air pass through the heat exchanger, some of the heat from the outgoing air is retained and transferred to the incoming air. This preheats the new supply of air before it gets inside your home.
The system works the same way during the summer. But instead of preheating, it precools fresh outdoor air in the air exchanger before entering your home.
This whole process is a great way for your home’s heater or air conditioning unit to work less because the ERV system either preheats or pre-cools the air.
In addition to air temperature benefits, an ERV system can also retain and recover moisture and humidity from the outgoing air and transfer it to the incoming air when needed.
During dry seasons, needed moisture from the outgoing air gets transferred to the incoming air so the home’s indoor air isn’t too dry.
It’s important to note though that ERVs are not dehumidifiers. They don’t remove excess moisture that’s already inside the space. What they do is remove humidity from the incoming air and exhaust it over to the outgoing air, so no excess moisture goes inside the house through the HVAC system.
Benefits of Installing an ERV
Installing an ERV in your home offers tons of benefits:
- An ERV system provides your home with a continuous circulation of clean indoor air quality.
- The ERV preheating or precooling incoming fresh air takes some of the load off of your heater or air conditioner unit’s back. This helps lengthen your HVAC’s lifespan and minimize energy bills. It’s one of many’s go-tos when it comes to energy-efficient home appliances.
- ERVs maintain optimal living temperatures and humidity, depending on the current season.
- An ERV system has built-in filters that filter out dirt, pollution, insects, toxins, and contaminants so they don’t enter your family’s living space.
Drawbacks of Installing an ERV
Though beneficial for the most part, it’s important to be aware of some of its drawbacks:
- ERVs don’t always lower utility bills. ERVs run on electricity so this may cause additional usage.
- ERV systems continuously circulate air in and out of buildings so it doesn’t come as a surprise that operating them will cause some level of noise. To ensure it won’t bother you, installing them away from your living space shall do the trick.
- Initial ERV cost and installation are expensive. Typically, it can cost around $2,000.
ERV vs HRV: What’s the Big Difference?
When people talk about ERVs, another ventilating system always accompanying it is HRVs.
HRV (or Heat Recovery Ventilator) works practically the same as an ERV. The only difference is whereas ERVs transfer both heat and humidity, HRVs only transfer heat and not humidity.
You can find our deep dive on ERV vs HRV here.
How Much Do ERVs Cost?
As mentioned above, Energy Recovery Ventilator Systems – the unit itself and installing it – can be costly and expensive.
An ERV installation has a national average of roughly $2,000. This usually already consists of the unit, installation, and other costs.
This national mean can go lower or higher depending on a variety of other factors.
ERV installation cost is roughly around $400 to $500.
This could vary depending on who’s installing it, their experience, and where you are in the country.
Also, installation costs may be lower if the ERV is being installed at the same time as the furnace.
On the bright side, ERV systems don’t usually require a lot of maintenance.
All you need to do is clean and change the filter every two to three months. Though if you have pets or smokers in the house, consider changing them more frequently.
The filter you would need has a rating of 7-12. Changing and maintaining the filter regularly could cost you around $5 to $12 every year. It’s highly suggested that you buy these in bulk as it saves you more money in the long run.
You can also lengthen your unit’s lifespan by having it inspected every few months. This, along with other cleaning guides, should be found in your unit’s manual packet. If not, your installer can guide you through it.
What Factors Influence the Price of an ERV?
A variety of other factors can influence the price of your ERV:
- ERV brand, model, and style
- Single-room or whole-home unit
- Installation in a new or older home
- Existing ductwork
- Furnace placement and amount of required additional retrofitting
- Labor and materials
- ERV unit efficiency
- Size of home
- Location of home
Is Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator a Worthy Investment?
Installing an ERV is definitely a huge investment so people wonder if it’s even worth all that money.
In most cases, the answer is definitely yes. It’s huge money upfront, yes, but the benefits you can get from it can go on for years. An ERV system has an average lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
This means years of improved air quality for you and your family. Regulating the temperature of the incoming air into your home saves your heater or AC unit from doing too much work.
Regulating ideal humidity levels also saves your home from developing molds, mildew, or fungi infestations. You can also save your family from sore throats, dry skin, allergies, and other respiratory issues in the future.
According to Architect Magazine, the payback period and expected return on investment for installing an ERV could be anywhere from three months to three years.
Your actual ROI would depend on your system, how you use it, and where you are located.
Installing Energy Recovery Ventilators: DIY or Professional?
It’s always best to consult a professional and have them install your ERV system. Get someone with enough experience on the project you’re working on.
This will ensure you’re getting the most out of your ERV unit and on the money you’re paying for it.
All homeowners want the best for their families, including air quality. One way to ensure good air quality inside your home is with an ERV. It’s a huge unit so many wonder how much ERVs cost.
Installing an ERV has an average cost of around $2,000. This is inclusive of the unit itself and the cost of installation. Of course, this could go lower or higher depending on a variety of factors, including the brand and model of your unit.
And that has been our detailed guide on the question, “how much do ERVs cost?”. Please don’t hesitate to contact us below if you have any more questions!