Do air exchangers use a lot of electricity and cost a lot to run?
Are they even necessary, and are there other alternatives to air exchangers that can save you money on the long run?
How much do they cost to run all the time? And how to select energy efficient air exchangers that save you money on the long run?
These questions and more, I will be answering in this short article in order to help make the right decision before you invest in equipment and labor.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Do Air Exchangers Use a Lot of Electricity?
Air exchangers do not use a lot of electricity in order to run as they consume between 100-150 watts if power for medium-to-large houses, but the total energy consume by them could become big if you leave them on all the time.
There are basically fans inside a compartment with a certain structure, and fans don’t use a lot of electricity.
Different manufacturers make different models of air exchangers with different capacities and efficiencies, and different homes require different capacities and different patterns of use depending on their sizes and occupation.
These all change the actual electricity consumption of an air exchanger from one home to another.
For example, if no one was at home from the early morning, e.g. 7 am, until 4 pm, then there might not be a need to keep the air exchanger on all the time, but you can either turn it on and off manually upon arriving and before leaving, or you can use a timer to do this job for you.
And of course, an air exchanger that is installed for a 2,000 sq.ft. is expected to consume more energy than one that is installed in a 1,200 sq.ft. home, when used to work under the same conditions.
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How Much Electricity Does an Air Exchanger Use?
An air exchanger uses between 0.1-0.15 kWh for every hour of use, which translates into 2.4-3.6 kWh per day, and between 72-108 kWh per month, assuming that it is kept on all the time.
That’s based on the medium size house of around 2,000 sq.ft. in area, with the ceiling elevation of around 9 feet, assuming that you run the air exchanger all the house in order to replace the air in the house between 6-8 times a day, with the rating of 75-100 CFM.
As I explained above, the actual usage might differ from one house to another based on the occupation and on the need to replace the indoor air on frequent basis.
Are Air Exchangers Expensive to Run?
Although air exchangers do not draw a lot of power when running, but the total energy consumed by them might be big, and might make them expensive to run in case that you leave them on all the time, and if the electricity rates in your area were high.
How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Exchanger?
It costs between 34 cents and 50 cents per day to run the air exchanger all day, based on the average size of an exchanger and the average price of electricity of 14 cents/kWh.
Per month, the air exchanger costs between $10-$15 if was kept on all the time with the average energy price of 14 cents/kWh.
The actual cost of running an air exchanger might differ from one house to another depending on its size, the setting you leave it on, the number of hours it works, and the energy rates as every company charges a different price.
For example, in New York, Connecticut and California, the energy prices are between 20-23 cents/kWh, which means that you pay around 50% more than the average estimate above with the same usage of the air exchanger.
While in Idaho, Utah and North Dakota, the prices range between 10-11 cents/kWh, which means that you pay around 25% less than the average above for the same usage.
Do Air Exchangers Save or Waste Energy?
Air exchangers use energy in order to do a specific job, replacing the indoor air with fresh air on regular basis, and as long as they are functioning properly and they are used as per your needs, they consume energy, not waste it.
Changing the air is important in order to maintain healthy atmosphere inside the house, and that’s why using the proper air exchanger is not considered a waste of energy.
However, if you have the air conditioning or the space heating on, and you have an air exchanger that is running at the same time, then replacing the air with fresh air that is either much colder or much hotter than the desired temperature inside the house, then the cooling or the heating system will have to work harder in order to maintain the set temperature, and in that case, changing the air, and not the air exchanger itself, indirectly wastes energy.
But there are alternatives to air exchangers that can help you save energy on the heating and cooling in this case, which are two types of similar devices:
- Heat Recover Ventilators: And these work in a similar way to the air exchangers, but in addition, they transfer the heat between the incoming and outgoing air in order to change the temperature of the fresh air and make it closer to the room’s temperature, which reduces the work necessary by the heating or cooling system.
- Energy Recovery Ventilators: And these are similar to the HRV’s above, but in addition to maintaining the temperature and transferring it to the fresh air, they also work on transmitting the humidity from the exhaust air to the fresh air.
These both can be more expensive to purchase and install, but the savings come on the long run by lowering the heating and cooling costs.
Whether to use them or not depends on the time of using the heating, cooling, and the air exchanger or its alternative, and on the energy prices in your area.
For example, if you live in a moderate-weather area where you rarely turn on the heating or the cooling, and where humidity is already at a comfortable level, then you might not need to use the expensive alternatives.
How to Choose The Best Energy Efficient Air Exchangers?
Picking the right air exchanger might be better handled by a professional in the field in order to keep the initial investment and the running cost as low as possible.
But some of the important tips to help you save energy and money when installing and using an air exchanger are:
- Understanding your actual need: a normal air exchanger, an HRV, or an ERV.
- Sizing the air exchanger properly, based on the size (area X ceiling elevation) of your home, and on how many times you need the air to be completely replaced.
- Checking the available options that offer the CFM rating you need, and comparing the power they withdraw at that rate, as many exchangers cover different ranges of air exchange rate and they withdraw a different amount of power at each setting.
- Consider exploring Energy Star certified devices as these less than the average consumption of comparable devices in the market.
I hope that my article was insightful and helped you know what to expect when it comes to using an air exchanger and the costs associated with it.
Air exchangers could use a lot of electricity if they are left on all the time and if they were of the big size or of the wrong sizing, and could be efficient if they were selected and installed properly.
The cost of using air exchangers differs from one house to another based on the rating, usage pattern, and energy pricing.
If you still have other questions or need help on this topic, please, let me know in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂
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