Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ERV?

An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) is a heat exchanger device that works with two airstreams. Using two fans, one will pull outside air into a building while another pulls stale, potentially polluted air out of that indoor environment. As the airstreams move past each other (BPE ERVs have next to no crossover between the streams), the energy from the departing heat and moisture is used to heat or cool the incoming air. Hence, the term, ‘Energy Recovery’. The use of this recovered energy via a high-efficiency ERV contributes to lower energy bills.

If the heat exchanger only recovers heat, but not moisture, it is an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator), not an ERV. If an HRV is needed in the event that a building is overly humid during winter, BPE ERVs can be modified to be HRVs upon request.

What will an ERV do for my home, office, or building?

For most building or home purposes, a BPE energy recovery system can save 70% to 95% thermal energy when heating and cooling! The payback on such a system is typically eight months to a few years. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy healthy indoor air quality immediately!

Does it matter if my energy recovery ventilator has a lot of moving parts?

Generally, the less moving parts the better!  

BPE has no moving parts in the energy recovery module. Only the fans move and typically, they last 10 to 20 years.

Do BPE ERVs include fans?

BPE units can be ordered with or without fans.  The energy recovery modules have so little back pressure that many times existing exhaust fans can be used. Then there are our integral units where fans and controls are built in. Our BPE-XE-MIR-200i is perfect for small offices and homes. The UNI line can be stacked to accommodate larger spaces on up to industrial complexes and arenas.

BPE engineers and IAQ specialists can also help with fan selections for your application.

What is thermal comfort?

Thermal comfort is when people wearing normal clothing are generally comfortable. ASHRAE standard 55 defines this as 68° F to 78° F and when 80% of people are reasonably comfortable.

Can an ERV deal with humidity and to what extent?

In a nutshell, ERVs can balance humidity levels between the outdoor air coming into a space and the stale air leaving. A high efficiency unit provides precise control of humidity without dropping the temperature.

Building Performance Equipment, Inc. has patented the technology for utilizing excess condensation by transferring it into the exhaust stream rather than into your building. In doing so, it provides improved heat transfer while avoiding the need to drain the condensate. In other words, BPE Regenerative Condensate® Return Technology recycles moisture to increase thermal effectiveness, resulting in 34% latent efficiency (efficiency of water vapor) even during hot and humid summer temperatures.

Do I need a professional to install my ERV?

If you can install a bathroom fan and have a three-prong outlet, most people can install a residential or a small office BPE unit without help.  

For larger units or multiple and/or stacked modules in a space such as a large public high school you will need professional installers.

Do ERVs utilize filters?

Filters are always a good idea to keep dust and allergy issues under control.  BPE ERV units come standard with Merv 8 filters and can be upgraded to Merv 13 filters as requested or needed.

Will an ERV rid my home, office, or building of COVID-19 and other viruses?

A BPE ERV has the lowest cross contamination of any ERV/HRV on the market and will pull out contaminated air and bring in fresh air.  Schools in central New Jersey used hundreds of BPE ERVs for classrooms, using displacement ventilation to provide a single path of fresh air coming in as contaminated air is pulled from the other side of the classroom. Installing decently pleated filters on the main system is a smart move, too.

What’s the difference between an HRV and an ERV? Which do I need?

If only heat recovery is needed (and not moisture control) an HRV is needed.  BPE ERVs only discharge moisture to the outside and can be fully sealed to act as an HRV on request. BPE makes ERVs and HRVs that can be expected to have a service life of over 20 years with reasonable maintenance.

Can an ERV really act as my sole HVAC system?

Typically, an ERV system is used in addition to an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system since most HVAC systems do not have fresh air ventilation.  BPE allows an existing building to add back in ventilation without major mechanical retrofits.

Can an ERV take my home HVAC off the grid?

BPE has been involved with many off-the-grid, low-power-usage, and net-zero construction projects.

A residential unit with controls and fans takes less power to operate than a 60-watt light bulb! EER (Energy Efficiency Ratings) of over 60 EER are common (3x as efficient as geothermal solutions).

Which ERV unit do I need for my space?

Generally, a unit should provide 20 cfm per person. Choosing a model is as easy as multiplying the number of people who will typically share an indoor space by 20. Choose the BPE model with the number that is larger than the resulting number…  

Example:  A home or office with 6 People:  20 cfm x 6 = 120.

For this example, you would choose a BPE XE-MIR-200i.

For large projects, always consult a design professional and refer to: 

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) standard:

62.1 Acceptable Indoor Air Quality for commercial buildings and 

62.2 Acceptable Indoor Air Quality for residences.

Also, BPE IAQ specialists and engineers are always happy to help with project specifications!

How do I order a BPE ERV?

Call your local BPE manufacturer’s representative or call BPE at 201-722-1414.

How is an ERV helpful in coping with our climate crisis?

BPE ERVs and HRVs have removed over 800,000 cars years of pollution off the grid in North America. The goal is to continue recovering heating and cooling energy so that people and businesses reduce their carbon footprint by using less fossil fuels. In turn, the atmosphere absorbs less CO2, NOx, and Sox. If we’re ever going to limit the Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, it’s important to tackle the industries that produce the most carbon. By helping the building industry adopt clean energy practices, we strive to play a major role in a healthier planet full of healthier people. 

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