Heat Recovery Air Exchanger: Regular and Careful Maintenance for Healthy Air

Modern homes come with their share of advantages and disadvantages. More insulated and airtight than ever in the name of saving energy, our homes retain heat and air better. The air in our interiors, where we spend a large portion of our time, isn’t always refreshed every 3 hours as recommended. Faced with this concern, which may have consequences for our health, the use of a heat recovery air exchanger addresses it by eliminating moisture, stale air, and pollutants. Everything is replaced by fresh, filtered air. The air inside is therefore refreshed, clean, and healthy. But if the quality of our air depends on a machine, what is involved in the maintenance of this machine?

Regular maintenance

More and more in demand due to the increase in the construction of new housing, we now find a wide variety of heat recovery air exchangers on the market. Whether cutting-edge or more basic, this machine works very well as long as it has been installed properly and remains well-maintained. Indeed, as they work with a filtration system, it’s necessary to clean the filters of air exchangers regularly to keep the air healthy.


These famous filters must be cleaned every two to three months, or more depending on the residential area – on a road with heavy traffic or near a wood-burning heater – or depending on the time of year (allergy season). Some machines – usually older ones – have replaceable filters that don’t need to be cleaned. For the newer models, you can easily remove the filter, which you can clean with a vacuum cleaner and mild soap before putting it back in place. Refer to the user manual to identify, remove, and reposition the filter.

Exhaust ducts

We will then proceed to the external air intake and the exhaust duct. After inspection, remove all the debris that is blocking the movement of the air, as well as the snow and ice in the winter. Do likewise for the internal air intake, which should be cleaned just as often. Don’t hesitate to use a vacuum cleaner with a small nozzle for this step. Some machines are connected to a condensation discharge duct, which can be found at the bottom of the device. For these, pour a large amount of hot water into the basin inside the air exchanger to make sure that it flows easily.

Recovery core and fan

Each machine consists of a plastic or aluminum recovery core. Be sure to clean it seasonally, especially before starting the heating in the winter. The cleaning of the core will depend on the type of machine, so it’s important to refer to the manual from the manufacturer to follow the right steps. That said, we generally suggest vacuuming the walls first to suck up all the accumulated dust. Then, you can soak it in soapy water. After rinsing it, let the core dry completely before replacing it. However, be careful not to soak the machine’s fan, its core, or its thermal wheel.

The main reason to purchase an air exchanger is to purify the indoor air and to ensure a healthy environment. Its efficiency is completely compromised when dust and dirt accumulate in it, hence the importance of its regular maintenance.

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