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One Small Tip to Keep Your Furnace Running Smoothly

The Furnace Part You Didn’t Know Existed Is Working Hard to Keep Your Home’s Air Fresh


You may not have heard of a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) or its heat exchange core, but the core, a relatively small part of your furnace, is anything by inconsequential — and you should be maintaining it properly for the good of both your furnace, and the air you breathe everyday.

What’s an HRV?

As houses have become more and more airtight in the name of energy efficiency, they have also ceased to “breathe.” But don’t take this as a negative. Rather than allowing air to seep in through walls and gaps around windows and doors, and then heating and humidifying that air to ideal levels, modern homes incorporate an airtight layer that allows for much more control and precision in air temperature, humidity and quality. That said, all of these aspects need to be maintained, and that’s where your heating, ventilation, and cooling systems come into play.

The Heat Recovery Ventilator is the system responsible for pulling in fresh air from outside and pushing stale air out in the process. But as fresh as the outdoor air may be, it must be filtered before moving on through the unit to be heated. It passes first through a filter, and then hits the heat exchange core where it is warmed before moving on. The problem is that even after passing through the filter, the air still carries some impurities, which can cause blockages of the core over time if they build up.

Recognizing a HRV Core Blockage

If the HRV core gets blocked or isn’t functioning at optimal levels, you may notice that it feels very stuffy in your home, or that the air smells stale. Inside the furnace, your HRV core is working extra hard to do its job and this can cause it to wear out more quickly.

Preventing Problems in Your Heat Ventilator Core

The first step in maintaining your HRV and its heat ventilator core is to clean the intake filter as well as the exhaust filter on the outside of the home each time you clean your furnace filter. This will be about every three months, though it may be more often if there is a lot of dust or debris in the air — poplar fuzz, or construction dust for instance.

The core itself, though, should be checked and cleaned by a professional. This should be done annually during regular furnace maintenance.

Yes, of course this is something we specialize in! When you book your annual furnace maintenance this fall, we will check your heat ventilator core as well to ensure that its clean and running smoothly — so you can breathe easy year-round.


George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

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