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Should You Run Your Heat Recovery Ventilator System Continuously?

diagram showing how a heat recovery ventilator works

If you have a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) in your home, you already know its many benefits. It's an energy-efficient way to deliver fresher, healthier indoor air to your home. However, many homeowners need to familiarize themselves with the best way to use their HRV system. Here are some tips about how to set your HRV to maximize your home’s comfort and efficiency.


Setting Your HRV System in the Fall and Winter

When it’s cold outside and you’re using your home’s furnace, it’s best to operate your heat recovery ventilator continuously. It ensures a consistent supply of fresh air and removes indoor air pollutants. This is especially true if you have a newer, air-tight home.

You can also set your HRV on “20/40” mode so that the HRV system operates for 20 minutes out of every hour. This provides adequate ventilation while reducing energy consumption.

You can change the speed to high for increased ventilation when you use paints, solvents or cleaning products. Other times to increase the HRV speed are when you’re cooking or smoking and when there are numerous people in the home.

Most HRV models feature an automatic defrost mode that kicks in whenever the outside air temperature falls below -5 C. This mode temporarily blocks the fresh air intake and allows warm air from the home to melt any frost and ice that’s formed in the pipes. The system resumes regular operation after the defrost is complete.

Setting Your HRV System in the Summer

Your HRV can enhance your home’s air conditioning system during the summer. Again, run it all the time so fresh air can enter your home without the need to open windows and doors.

As a basic year-round rule, it’s best to let your HRV run continuously. You enjoy the continuous circulation of fresh air throughout your home while operating your HVAC system and minimizing energy loss.

Using Your HRV’s Dehumidistat

The HRV’s dehumidistat allows you to control your home’s humidity levels. In general, your dehumidistat settings should be between 25 and 50 percent in the winter. Use the following temperatures to guide your settings:

  • When the temperature is -30 C or below, set the dehumidistat to 25 percent

  • When it’s -11 C to +18 C outdoors, set the dehumidistat to a maximum of 50 percent

  • When it’s higher than 18 C outdoors, set the dehumidistat to 100 percent

Your professional HRV installer will be able to give you guidance on how to set your dehumidistat.

Heat Recovery Ventilator Installation, Maintenance and Repair in the GTA

At Black Forest Plumbing, we provide HRV installation, repair and maintenance services for home and business owners throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today to get a quote on an HRV system installation, or book an appointment with one of our technicians.


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