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  1. #1

    pulling cool outdoor ambient air through forced air HVAC

    Wondering if anyone knows of a product available for pulling cooler nighttime ambient air into my forced air HVAC system?
    Here's what I'm trying to accomplish: our family likes to keep it cool at night to sleep but we don't like the dust, noise, and tiny gnats that seem to have a way of gravitating through the screens of open windows in the evenings. Consequently we run our AC a lot and in the spring and fall I'm sure there are many times we are running the AC because the indoor temp (from residual daytime heat) is higher than the ambient temp outside.

    I know they make some sort of heat exchangers for people worried about their houses being too tight (to give several fresh air changes per hour) but I'm really just looking for a way to pull in fresh cool evening air, filter it, and circulate it without having to run the compressor on the A/C.

    I'm guessing that one of the downfalls of doing something like this is the humidity that would be introduced at night, then the A/C would be running during the day to remove it and this might be bad for the wood trim, etc., in our house.

    Somewhere I thought I heard that someone makes something like this, but I don't know what it's called, cost, etc. The simple solution would be to turn on our whole-house fan and open the windows, but as I mentioned above, the noise and dust are the reasons I get resistance from the rest of the family. I know you can get smaller screens for the windows to keep the tiny bugs out, but I don't like the darker look of those screens (from the curb or from the inside looking out).

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,793
    in the winter the humidity is lower anyways, setup a damper bringing in outside air at certain temperatures....piece of cake!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    39
    Do a google on the AprilAire. They have a fresh air exchanger that you might be looking for.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,680
    not sure on the brand we installed on one, but here you go, we installed one in a factory office area, not a typical residential application in MN would require it, but came in handy in this situation, and works great.

    http://www.plenums.com/mixing_box_units.html
    You can't fix stupid

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    415

  6. #6
    Thanks for the ideas

    Just wanted to clarify--I'm mainly wanting this so that I can get the cool air in fall and spring without running the A/C so I wouldn't anticipate using it in the winter months.

    I googled the Aprilaire ERV unit. Just wondering, though, will it actually pull in straight cool air until my stat(s) say the temp is where I want it, or is an ERV going to work as an exchanger and basically try to keep the indoor temp the same and simply exchange the stale indoor for the fresh outside air (while trying to keep the thermal exchange neutral)? My house is 12 years old and was supposed to be tight, but the windows are the equivalent of the proverbial screen door on a submarine, so too tight isn't a big concern!

  7. #7
    The NightBreeze link looks like just the ticket....except.....I am in Ohio where it can get really humid in the middle of summer and their info says it's for low humidity situations. Is it possible that something like this could also be tied to a humidistat that would determine when it kicked in?

    I guess in the dead of summer with high humidity, it's not really likely that we'd appreciate the outdoor air anyway?

    Also, on the plenum suggestion, would I need more than my current media filter to keep dust and pollen out?

    For what it's worth, I have a 90+ American Standard 100,000 BTU NG furnace and an American Standard 4 ton central air unit. House is unzoned (one zone) with 3100 SF--2 story (probably should have put 2 units in with a second floor, but at the time we were building the $ was tight and I hated to have to buy 2 of everything HVAC)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,680
    both look to be normal mixing boxes, the nightbreeze looks to have all the necessary controls with the package, I would imagine if the night air was cool and humid you would have issues, but would think you can switch to mechanical cooling only in the dead of summer.
    You can't fix stupid

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