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How to use and maintain your heat recovery ventilation system

May 02, 2019
Man checking HRV system in a home

Want to know how to correctly manage your home's humidity? How does your heat recovery ventilation system work? In this post, we discuss the ins and outs of HRV systems in homes including how to use and maintain your HRV system.

What is an HRV system?

The heat recovery ventilation system in your house removes the old moist and stagnant air from your home while simultaneously bringing in fresh air. What makes it truly energy efficient is it uses the heat from the air it is removing to warm up the fresh air as it's on its way to the furnace. 

This way your furnace doesn't have to work as hard to heat your home, reducing your energy costs. This process also helps remove humidity from the air in your home which reduces the risk of mold and other things.

How to use your heat recovery ventilation system

The first thing you need to know about your HRV system is that it is one big system connected throughout your house. Turning it on in one area of your home will turn it on everywhere; however, HRV systems are designed to be extremely energy efficient.

Your HRV system replaces those noisy bathroom fans with vents that silently extract humid air from every one of your bathrooms. You’ll most likely have a control for the system in your bathroom which makes it easy to turn it on after a shower. Luke Staniscia, a Site Manager for Brookfield Residential, recommends turning your HRV system on for 60 minutes after every single shower to remove any and all humidity.

Tips for using your HRV master control

The master control for your HRV system allows you to control the system from one central location in your home and dial in how you would like the system to work for your specific home and preferences. Here are some tips to optimize how you use your HRV system using the master control:

  • Manually turn on your system: The master control of your HRV system allows you to manually turn the system on in the event you may have forgotten to turn it on after a shower or something.
  • Set your HRV’s dehumidifier to a specific humidity level: Instead of always having to manually turn it on,  you can set the dehumidifier to a certain percentage that will turn the system on automatically when it detects the humidity has exceeded the percentage you set. The system will continually run until the humidity percentage has dropped below the level you set.
  • Never set the dehumidification setting to a lower threshold than the humidifier in the basement: If you have a humidifier in your basement, you’ll want to make sure the humidity level for your HRV system is set a little bit higher than the basement humidifier. Doing this will keep these two systems from fighting one another and increasing your energy costs.

How to clean and maintain your HRV system

The only thing you need to do to maintain your HRV system is clean it. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the access door to your HRV (don’t worry if it’s running, opening the door will automatically turn the system off)
  2. Remove the coreTake off the small filter pads and give them a rinse with soap and water (nothing more than hand soap is needed)
  3. Repeat step three with the core
  4. Set all of the components aside to dry
  5. Take a rag and wipe down the inside of the HRV system to remove any dust brought in from outside
  6. Put the pads back in (make sure they're nice and evenly spaced so that they cover the entire grate, and then you're going to reinsert the core)
  7. Reinstall the core (this will sit at a bit of an angle, not straight)
  8. Close the system up (it will automatically turn back on)


It’s important you know how to use your HRV system and more importantly, how to use it efficiently. Use the tips above to make the most of your HRV system and learn the best ways to use it. Check out our blog for more homeowner resources such as the household cleaning tasks you may have forgotten and a complete guide to baby proofing your new home.

To find out more about what Brookfield communities have to offer, contact us directly or take a look at where we build.