An air exchanger, or heat recovery ventilator (HRV), significantly increases the air quality in your home for ultimate comfort and health. The air exchanger draws the fresh air, having been heated, indoors while expelling the stale air outside. Not only does it eliminate pollutants, bacteria and unwanted odours from the air, but it also eliminates excess humidity.

Today, all new construction requires the installation of an air exchanger. So, how can you clean and maintain it? Is this something you, as a homeowner, can do or does it require the help of a professional team?

How can you maintain your air exchanger?

According to CAA Québec, air exchanger filters should be cleaned or changed, at minimum, every three months. However, if it is high pollen season, or you live near a body of water or dirt road, or in a neighbourhood where many heat with fireplaces and wood stoves, you will want to clean it more often.

Always start by consulting your user manual, ensuring that you approach maintenance and cleaning carefully. Do not forget to unplug your air exchanger before beginning the cleaning process or before changing its filters.

If your filter is washable, remove it from the air exchanger and clean it using a vacuum. Once you have removed what you can with the vacuum, wash it in soapy water using a mild soap. Rinse your filter thoroughly. Leave it to drip dry completely before reinserting the filter into the air exchanger.

Next, remove any leaves, snow or other debris debris from the external air intake and the exhaust duct.

Once a year, clean the condensation water tray and gently vacuum the ventilator and the air exchanger core. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the ventilator or the core to avoid causing damage.

How can you maintain and clean your air ducts?

Air ducts, or vents, require special tools for cleaning. Therefore, it is wise to hire a professional team to clean them. They can ensure that the grates and exhaust filters are in good working order and clean them if necessary. An experienced team will also use that opportunity to change or clean your air exchanger filter.

When should you call a team of professionals?

Even if you can care for the basic cleaning and maintenance, you will still need a more comprehensive cleaning of the air exchanger and its vents at least every three to five years. If, however you renovate your home, smoke, or have long-haired animals, you will need to have your vents professionally cleaned more often than that. Examine the state of the interior of your air exchanger. Any accumulation of dirt is a good indicator that it is time to call in a professional team.

What type of maintenance do professionals do?

During a typical maintenance visit, the technician will verify the state of controls of your air exchanger. This includes checking all electrical components, the propeller, and the sonar and vibration levels. The technician will double-check all working parts, adjusting them as necessary. Maintenance will include cleaning the filter and core and lubricating the motor. Next, your technician will clean the air filters and check the drainage vents and the air output, cleaning them as needed.

The specialist will use an industrial vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter and rotator brush to clean the ducts, also referred to as vents. Their cleaning techniques will leave your vents free of dust, bacteria and mould traces, delivering a perfect purified air system. You will immediately experience a significant improvement in air quality. At the same time, they will assess the state of the vents and clean their filters.

Be vigilant in maintaining your air exchanger system for optimal results

Always follow the instructions in your air exchanger manual carefully when carrying out routine cleaning. When in doubt, it is to your advantage that you call a professional for help. We recommend you clean your filters and system more frequently if any of your family members suffer from allergies or respiratory diseases.

Do not hesitate to contact one of our MST Enterprises experts. We will be more than happy to advise you on matters of maintenance and cleaning. We are dedicated to providing optimal air quality for a comfortable and healthy home.

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