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Me, My HRV and Why Two Out of Three Aint Bad

For years I’ve banged on at husband about wanting a ventilation system. His counter argument has always been that a) what we really need is a heat pump and b) there’s no point doing anything until we do the ‘Big Renovation’.

As the ‘Big Renovation’ is no longer happening the time has come to make a decision one way or the other.

Our house doesn’t have the open plan kitchen/dining/living that so many new and renovated houses have. We’re a big family for our small house so for us it’s better to have a kitchen/dining space that is separate from the lounge. It gives me respite from the kids (and them from me I guess) and as we don’t have space for a rumpus room, having these two separate living spaces is a must.

This, I’ve always argued, means a heat pump won’t work for us. So husband got a man in to try and talk me round. His recommendation was to install four separate, yet small, heat pumps  – one in the kitchen/dining room, one in the lounge, and one each in the master bedroom and the girls bedroom.

“Will it solve our condensation problems?”  I asked. “Absolutely” was the reply, “so long as you leave it running all the time”.

“Will it stop mildew appearing on my curtains?” I asked. “Sure”, came the reply, “so long as you leave it running all the time”.

“And what will having four heat pumps running all the time do to my power bill?” I asked. Silence. But then I think I already knew the answer.

Not that I think heat pumps are a bad idea. They’re a great idea – especially if you have an open plan living space. But keeping your home cosy in winter requires three things to: insulation, ventilation and heating. In that order.

Heating comes last because in order to heat a house effectively and efficiently, you need to be able to keep the heat in (insulation) and ensure the air you are trying to heat is dry (ventilation).

It’s like a three legged stool – take one of those things away and the stool isn’t quite as effective as it could be.

Our house is fully insulated so in my mind the next step is to deal with the dampness. I’ve explained it to husband many times, but then he never listens to me. So I organised a parade of sales people from different ventilation providers to visit us. It only took two to wear him down.

Watching the changes in temperature has kept the kids entertained for hours.

Watching the changes in temperature has kept the kids entertained for hours.

Today our new ventilation system went in and I’ve not been so excited about something so unexciting in a very long time. I know it’s not the total solution – we still need to sort out our heating, we still only have two legs on our three legged stool, and I will miss the little messages my kids used to write on the windows. But it is progress, and in our house that’s something worth celebrating.

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