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When in the Building Process Should I Design My MVHR System?

When in the building process should I design my MVHR system?

When in the Building Process Should I Design My MVHR System?

When in the building process should I design my MVHR system? It is important to start designing your Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system at the right stage of the build process. But, at what stage of the building process should you be designing the MVHR system for your building?

What is MVHR?

MVHR is a whole home ventilation system. It works by extracting the stale, moist, and polluted air from the inside of your home or other property. It then resupplies it with fresh, filtered air. 

At the same time, the air travels through a heat exchanger. This transfers a large percentage of the heat energy from the extracted air to the incoming air, resulting in a more energy-efficient building when installed correctly.

This creates a more comfortable, condensation and mould-free environment year-round.

Read more about this in our previous article! What is MVHR?

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Is MVHR Suitable for My Property?

In a previous blog, we discussed whether or not MVHR was suitable for your property. 

Whether your property is old or new, retrofit, renovation or new build, MVHR can bring benefits. Such benefits include:

  • Improved indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Lower humidity
  • No bathroom fans or trickle vents
  • Reduced noise and dust

Older buildings tend to be leakier, which can reduce the heat exchanger's effectiveness. New builds are designed from the ground up to be more airtight, with high levels of insulation and little to no natural/background ventilation. The rule of thumb for MVHR is usually that the air permeability of the thermal envelope should be at 3 @50Pa. 

When in the building process should I design my MVHR system?

At What Stage In The Building Process Should The MVHR System Be Designed For My Building?

Whether renovating or building anew, the answer is almost always: As early as possible.

Ideally, as soon as the project receives planning permission is the best time to design the MVHR system.

Once built, a new energy-efficient build can be difficult to modify with an MVHR system. It is important to work closely with your engineer/architects to overcome issues during the design stage.

In a renovation project, always plan the renovation around the MVHR system to avoid problems with installation later.

Planning right from the start can ensure:

  • You won't find problems during the build
  • You correctly plan your ducting
  • Little to no noise ingress
  • Correct condensate drainage
  • No freezing of MVHR unit

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At what stage in the building process should the MVHR system be installed?

Again, we recommend the earlier the better. Ideally, the fabric of the building would be built with ducting in place, ready to install the unit once the building is watertight. 

Depending on the insulation types used in the build, it could be difficult to install ducting later, compromising the thermal envelope. 

Similarly, different types of ducting can allow more or less flexibility. You should install rigid ducting during the build phase. This avoids having to chop it into segments and using connectors, which involves more time, parts and effort. Semi-rigid ducting is more malleable, and could be easily installed during a build or later in a renovation. 

When in the building process should I design my MVHR system?

Work With an MVHR Expert From The Offset

Whether designing a system to retrofit into an old home or building a new office building, we recommend you always work with an MVHR expert from the offset.

You could just get help checking over your plans, and if you feel confident then why not? We however recommend that you have an expert work with you on our design. This will ensure the design doesn’t run into any issues later, like clashes with joists, or pipe work. 

They can also ensure your build meets building regulations.

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