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Cindi Anderson
Engineer, CPHT
Asked a question last year

Is it worth looking at American ERV ventilation systems vs Zehnder? Like Panasonic Intellibalance? I totally get the value of ventilation a tight house, and was thinking Zehnder, but don't want to overkill it. Most of the time we are only 2 people in 3900 sf in a super dry climate. It sounds like the main reason Zehnder is so much more expensive is due to the ducting. But I'm having trouble understanding that since it's usually cheaper to buy than do your own labor on that kind of thing. Thanks

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Benjamin Wolk, RA, CPHC, SHP
Architect and Building Science Nerd

The efficiency of a Zehnder is certainly worth it over most American ERV/HRVs. They have efficiencies in the high 80s to nearly 90 percent. Look at the HVI listings and sort by highest Max Rated Sensible Recovery Efficiency:

You don't have to use the Zehnder ducting if you are going to pay an contractor to install it. You can use rigid metal ductwork to bring the costs down. The flexible comfotube makes install easier, especially for DIY, since you don't have to put together metal ductwork and seal it, and you only have to drill 3" holes where the tubes need to go through framing.