We all have to be concerned about construction cost and our bottom line, but if you live in or are building an extremely energy efficient home or building, take it from me, you will eventually have humidity issues.
While building codes require fresh air ventilation systems, Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) and whole house dehumidifiers are not mandatory. For the home owners sake, I think they should be.
Both have important purposes. The HRV exhausts the home’s warm stale air to the outside and in the process warms the fresh air being brought into the home. This reduces heating cost. A whole house dehumidifier on the other hand monitors and manages humidity levels.
When we built The House on Third Street, we installed and relied upon a HRV to monitor and control both our home’s fresh air and humidity levels. It was the single biggest mistake we made building our home. We learned the hard way that controlling a home’s living environment is a complicated equations and that while HRVs are important, they simply are not an affective way to manage moisture levels.
I encourage you to demand that both a dehumidifier and a HRV be included in your ventilation system’s design. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it is significantly easier and cheaper to install this equipment while your home is being constructed. If you don’t, you will eventually pay the price for it.
If you are thinking about using a floor dehumidifier, I will warn you that emptying them can be a real nuisance, unsightly, louder and more expensive to operate. They just aren’t a long term solution. Whole house dehumidifiers will automate the process and will be much more energy and cost efficient solution.