The Value of Polymer – and How it Saves You Money

Posted 17 December, 2021 — HVAC Trends

The beauty of an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) – and the energy recovery wheel inside of it – is its ability to allow you to create an HVAC system that’s 20 to 40% more efficient than one without an ERV. But, what if a specific type of wheel could save you even more money over the course of its life, due to how it’s made?

While often not examined out of the gate, considering which type of wheel to use in your system can have a significant, tangible impact on cost and performance over the years. You just need to know what to look for.

The answer lies within polymer – specifically Airxchange®’s energy recovery wheels that use a polymer media. If you’re wondering why, let’s dig in.


More Compact, Same Performance

Airxchange® polymer wheels deliver the same efficiency and performance as wheels that use metal media. That’s because with polymer, the wheel can be designed for a more compact space.

Why does this matter? Because, when selecting a HVAC unit for your facility, engineers are able to use smaller cabinets, which equates to less space needed for the unit. Using less material can equate to lower product costs, meaning you potentially can save on capital expenses.


Keep it Clean, Save the Green

Yes, a cleaner energy recovery wheel is more efficient than a dirty one. When the media isn’t clogged, airflow is better and CFM remains stable without needing to use more energy to drive more air through the system.

Because Airxchange® polymer wheels are truly segmented – meaning they can be removed in pieces for cleaning – you have minimal downtime and also reduced labor costs.

Unlike the metal wheels contained in other ERVs, Airxchange®’s polymer wheel is entirely submersible, which lessens downtime associated with cleaning.


Permanently Embedded Desiccant, Ongoing Performance

In Airxchange® energy recovery wheels, desiccant is worked into the polymer media, rather than being applied to surface as is the case with metal wheels.

That proprietary approach means the desiccant doesn’t wear off or degrade over time. The result: Consistent performance. Additionally, it leads to cost savings, because when ERV performance remains high, the rest of the HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, which helps with efficiency and cost savings.


Easy Maintenance, Easy Money

Segmented polymer wheels have clear benefits when it comes to maintenance.

For starters, they’re, well, segmented. This means you can easily remove one piece if it’s damaged and replace it. That saves you from needing an entirely new wheel.

Also, the media is light and easy to clean (as we already noted). You can remove the wheel, wash it with a general degreaser (any kitchen soap will work great) and have it back up and running – all within less than a couple hours per wheel.

It’s important to note that only the media in Airxchange® wheels are polymer. The housing and frame is made with stainless steel. Therefore, it has the same structural integrity as a metal wheel but without the drawbacks.

All this leads to less downtime and better performance, which equates to less dollars spent on maintenance for you.


Forgiving Material Matters

If you’ve fixed an HVAC system, you know the kind of debris that can fly through it and damage your energy recovery wheel. If that wheel is metal, it’s likely damaged in a way that’s going to affect performance. Either the metal is dented or deformed in a way that impacts its ability to work how it should.

Polymer wheels, on the contrary, “bounce back” when hit with most debris. Given the pliable nature of the material, it’s less susceptible to damage from foreign objects. That saves repair costs and also ensures the wheel continues to operate with the efficiency it had when first installed.

Overall, polymer wheels bring a lot of benefits to the table that often aren’t thought of at first glance. If you want to learn more – or see the science behind it – send us a note any time.