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Old 10-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


It is that time of year again and the condensation has alrady begun on my windows. Last year we ran a portable dehumidifier in the living area, ranch house 1100 sq ft, to try and keep the humidity in the 30's during winter. Its only Ocotber and the condensation monster is here. Im not going through what we did last year, emptying the bucket daily and listening to that thing run constant.

So I am torn about what to do next. Since I live in the NE part of the country I think an HRV during the winter months would help to reduce indoor humidity. But what about a whole house deumidifer? I plan on installing a make up fresh air kit, 5" with motorized NC damper, to my natural gas forced air furnace to bring in more fresh air but I dont think that is the magic bullet to my humidity problem, because last night we didnt need the furnace but in door RH was in 60's and condensation on all the windows. Any thoughts about HRV vs deumidifier.

Btw I cant seem to figure out where this humidity is comming from. Basement is bone dry, I havnt heard sump run in awhile, no water present at all in basement. I just installed bathroom exhaust fan for our single bathroom. We dont have one for the kitchen so Im thinking since my wife cooks alot that is the next step. Or...Maybe I just breath too much

Last thing... I wa looking at the Honeywell pro IAQ t-stats and wonder, can that control a whole house dehumidifier or HRV of any brand? Also can it control a motorized damper for the fresh air intake I want to install?

Any input is apppreaciated.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:36 AM   #2
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


Several issues/points with your case;

1) Get a kitchen exhaust fan and decent sized one. They rate them in cfm and the more expensive ones are a LOT quieter and worth the extra $$.

2) I have a HRV. It will bring in drier outdoor air IF your outdoor air is dry. Not sure about your climate but if it is humid then you are just bringing in more humidity and adding to the problem.

3) The fresh air pipe will bring in more humidity also. In my area it is very dry in the winter so outdoor air help drop the RH level.

4) Lifebreath makes some excellent HRVs with excellent controls. I would stay away from the IAQ system as it is not compatible with the newer HRVs. The Lennox Healthy Climate HRVs are excellent and made by Lifebreath.

5) The IAQ stats control furnaces, a/cs, humidifiers attached to a furnace but not other brands of equipment easily. When you do that you can have conflicts and electrical problems etc.

Last edited by yuri; 10-12-2009 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:12 PM   #3
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


Are you close to the lakes?
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:41 PM   #4
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


Lake Onatrio, about 20 miles inland.

According to the Weather Channel website for my area the temp is 47 F, Dew point is 30F and outside RH is 53%.

My indoor stats are: Temp 66F and RH 56%.

It is definately drier outside than inside my house. Using a RH calculator if the outside air was raised to my indoor temp of 66F, fresh air brought indoors, my indoor RH would drop to 26%, which would be more acceptable.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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A HRV is what you need AFTER a good kitchen exhaust fan. The fresh air pipe is totally inefficient as it brings in stone cold air which has to be heated. A HRV will recover most of the heat from the exhausted air and has controls to make it automatic. They are not cheap to install but worth it for better health etc. I had a really poorly insulated house (customer) with mold on the outside walls and they needed a HRV (lots of cooking and large family).
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:36 PM   #6
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


How many people are in your house.

An HRV an kitchen exhaust as Yuri said.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


2 adults, 1 child, and 1 yellow labrador

House is ranch house, 1100 sq ft 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, unfinished basement
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:09 PM   #8
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Must be the wife cooking.

Tell her we're all coming up for dinner on Saturday.

How far are you from glide st. LOL

I live in PA, so your too far from me.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:02 PM   #9
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier




Not too far from Glide, I used to work over on Emerson and Glide at an eletrical distributor named Zeller Electric. Also see you are in Lancaster ,PA. I worked there for several months at a satellite clinic for the hospital over in I think it was a town named Columbia, not sure was 5 years ago.


After some more research I think I may try this...

1) an HRV for fresh air venitilation and to reduce indoor humidity in winter, balanced as best as possible
2) another exhaust fan in the kitchen, I cant do a hood type so am hoping to come across a ceiling mount, otherwise I would have to do a wall mount into the garage and duct it to the side of the house, but am worried about fire codes.
3) a passive 5" make up air kit attached to the far end of the furnace return with a motorized damper that opens only when an exhaust fan is running
4) also a combustion air supply that terminates near my furnace, likely a 4" duct with a manual damper inline to control air movement vented through side of house, likely with a passive damper. the furnace has no combustion air supply, it uses the building air and has power vented exhaust up the flue.

How does all this sound? It sounds like alot of work to me and I have been doing projects non stop this summer , but this condensation has to go!
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


I would do the kitchen exhaust first (least expensive and may solve the problem).
The HRV is not an easy job and unless it is ducted properly and balanced by a Pro can create a unsafe condition in the house.
The rest is optional and a good idea.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:18 PM   #11
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Kitchen exhaust.
HRV if the the kit exhaust alone won't lower the humidity enough.

Don't add that 5", right away. May not be needed.

Is your furnace vented with PVC, or metal pipe.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:31 PM   #12
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


The furnace exhaust is vented with metal pipe.

I am concerned that if I add a kitchen exhaust that will = 2 exhaust mechanisms without any make up air routes other than through my house envelope and window / door seams, which I would like to avoid, so that is why I am thinking I need a designated route for make up air when either of these fans run.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:38 AM   #13
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HRV versus Whole house deumidifier


Its possible.
I would wait and see first though. No reason to put the cart before the horse at this point.
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