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What is MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) and Is it Suitable for Flat Owners?

Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR for short) is a self-contained system that’s designed to operate 24/7 and uses mechanical parts for its operation. The idea is that the system will successfully capture air that contains heavy moisture particles – a sign of humidity in the air – and extract it outside the property. When doing so, this makes the indoor environment far more comfortable to spend time in because it’s not sticky or uncomfortable any longer.

What is MVHR?

Mechanical ventilation systems are designed to run automatically 24/7 and never stop. They can be used in a single room within a flat or connect to several rooms in a flat such as the bedroom, living room, and kitchen.

They operate by extracting hotter air from the rooms and using a duct system or grilles, the warmer air is transported to an extraction fan that points to the outside of the property. There are different extraction systems depending on whether warmer air is to be captured from multiple rooms and transported to a central extraction point, or if only one room is being set up to extract humidity from it and remove the hot air from there.

Is It Very Noisy?

The mechanical ventilation systems are designed to operate quietly. Because they operate continually 24 hours a day, running loudly simply wouldn’t work for homeowners. Manufacturers of MVHR systems know that and ensure manufacturing standards include the maximum decibel level during full operational use.

Perhaps the noisiest part is the extraction fan, but this is usually contained within a wall or sufficiently away from the frequently occupied areas to not cause a distraction. Air is sucked out of the building using the fan and fans make little noise, especially when they’re several metres out from earshot.

What’s the Heat Recovery Component?

The idea with heat recovery is that it should provide an energy efficient aspect to the installation. Whilst it’s important to remove moisture from the air, homeowners certainly don’t wish to lose heat at the same time. They pay to warm up their homes during the colder months and a system that actively removes that warmth will only cost them more money to continually reheat their home.

Instead, heat is recovered from the moist air that’s captured. It can then be returned to the flat, so it’s not lost. In fact, it gets better than that. While a homeowner might turn on the heating in one room, the recirculation of captured heat distributes throughout the flat. This means that while the living room is toasty, the bedroom isn’t a shock to the system because it’s not warmed up yet (only the duvet is cold when not using a heated electric blanket).

While it costs money to install and run an MVHR system, homeowners save money through the full ownership period from the heat recovery. Their energy bill is moderated and isn’t anywhere near as expensive in winter because of the energy efficient use of the heat already generated in the home.

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