Air Exchanger Maintenance

Source: SCHL

The heat recovery ventilator (HRV) in your home can contribute to a clean, healthy living environment, while reducing fuel consumption bills. But the HRV can not do it alone without your help. Just follow seven simple steps and you'll have it!

The seven steps of the maintenance of an HRV

First, stop and unplug the HRV.

Step 1: Clean or replace air filters

Dirty or clogged filters can compromise the effectiveness of the ventilation. Attempt to clean the filters at least every two months. Filters of most new HRVs can be removed easily, clean with a vacuum cleaner and wash with mild soap and water before being replaced. Older models have replaceable filters. For easy access HRV, this step takes only five minutes.

Step 2: Check the intake air taken from the outside and the vent

Remove leaves, waste paper or other debris clogging the pipes of VRC.Sans this essential air movement, the HRV is not working as it should. During the winter, remove snow or ice that may block the ducts to the outside.

Step 3: Inspect the discharge of condensate conduit

Ensure HRV is connected to a discharge of condensate, a small pipe at the bottom of the duct device. If this is the case, pour about two liters of clean hot water into the drain inside the HRV to ensure that the flowing freely. If there is discharge, clean the drain.

Step 4: Clean the blades heat exchanger

See the manufacturer's manual, the guidelines to follow to clean the blades of the heat exchanger. Vacuum blades and wash with mild soap water will reduce dust accumulation.

Step 5: Clean the grills and inspect the ductwork

Once a year, check the condition of the ducts attached to the VRC. Remove and inspect the grilles covering the duct ends, then vacuum inside the ducts. If plusapprofondi cleaning is required, please contact your service technician.

Step 6: Check the fans

Remove the dust that has accumulated on the blades by gently brushing. Most new HRVs are designed to run continuously without lubrication, but if it is an older model, pour a few drops of lubricating oil in the engine intake port provided for this purpose . For complete instructions, please consult your service manual.

Step 7: Make it to the annual maintenance

It is required to check each year, the HRV by an authorized technician by the Heating, Ventilation and Refrigeration (HRAI). Make sure the technician has been trained by the manufacturer of your HRV.

Check the balance of your HRV using a garbage bag

The VRC must rely on a balanced flow of fresh air and exhaust stale air intake. If you do not know if the HRV was balanced during installation or you have changed or added HRV ducts, you'll probably want to check the balance following the simple instructions provided below. This test will take about 10 minutes. Use a large bag of 1.2 m (48 in.) long. Defeats a hanger. Fix, using ribbon hanger at the mouth of the bag to keep it open. You now have a test of air movement device. Go outside, where your HRV ducts exit the foundation.

Step 1

Flatten the bag and hold it tightly over the exhaust outlet. The air coming out of the mouth inflate the bag. Measure the time taken for the bag to inflate. If the bag is 8 seconds or more to swell, go to step 2. If the VRC takes less than eight seconds to inflate the bag, go to the basement and reduce the speed of the HRV and repeat the test. Then go to step 2.

Step 2

Swing the bag to inflate it and hold the opening against the wall around the cap of the exhaust outlet of the HRV. The air entering the VRC will effectively deflating the bag. Time how long it takes to deflate. If your HRV is balanced, the air entering the HRV will balance the air discharged from the unit. Inflation time should be roughly equal deflation time. If, for example, you find that the bag inflates twice as fast as it deflates, your HRV is unbalanced. If the balance does not seem attributable to filters, you need to call a service technician to test and adjust your HRV.

 test with garbage bag

Checklist your HRV To start your program easy maintenance, unplug the appliance and open the front panel.

April or May

  • Set the humidistat to the HIGH or OFF

September or October

  • Clean the blades
  • Check fans
  • Turn adjusting the humidistat (40-80%)
  • Check grilles and air ducts
  • Check discharge the condensate conduit

Learn more about the interior of the HRV

Here is what it looks like inside an HRV

SCHL offers a wide range of housing-related information. For more information, contact your local CMHC office or call 1 800 668-2642.

The EnerGuide for maisonsMC provides a comprehensive energy analysis of your home. The EnerGuide program was developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and local businesses to provide services across Canada are responsible for its application for a fee. The improvements may be eligible for the grant until 2007. To find a local company to provide services or information on the grant, please visit or call 1-800-387-2000.

If you would like to receive more information on HRV, Natural Resources Canada has prepared a booklet titled Operation and maintenance of the recovery ventilators (HRV). You can obtain copies absolutely free by making a request by phone or by writing to the following address:

Energy Publications

c / o Canada Communication Group

Ottawa (Ontario)


Fax. : (819) 994-1498

Toll free: 800 387-2000 l Ottawa area, call 995-2943

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation supports the Government policy on disability access to information. If you wish to obtain this publication in alternative formats, call 1 800 668-2642.