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What's the Purpose of an Air Exchanger?

What's the Purpose of an Air Exchanger?

Interior renovationsWhat's the Purpose of an Air Exchanger?

In Canada, our winters are quite long and as a result, we spend a lot of time indoors with our doors and windows shut tightly. Our indoor air festers and waits for warmer days when we can finally let in the fresh air from outside.

But what if there was a more efficient way to access the fresh air without ever opening a window? This is where the air exchange system comes into play!

Inherent to their name, air exchangers move the stale air from inside your home and swap it with fresher, cleaner outdoor air. These devices, also known as mechanical ventilation systems, keep the whole house fresh, in addition to preventing allergens like pet dander from collecting indoors. We’ve got the down-low on everything you need to know about air exchangers, so read on to find out more!

How does an air exchange unit work?

Ventilation 

source: canva

An air exchanger is installed to work with the existing HVAC system, pulling fresh air from outdoors into the home by way of ductwork. Each unit consists of several separate channels that work to preheat incoming air with the exhaust air. The duct system is outfitted with distribution grills, to pull in and distribute fresh air and stale air exhaust grills that expel stale air.

These grills are connected to the air exchanger, and are located throughout the home; this could be anywhere from the kitchen to the bedroom or living room! Grills are generally placed where fresh air is most needed, so think about areas where ventilation or airflow aren’t as possible. While some grills are working to distribute fresh air into these spaces, others are pulling stale air from inside the home into the outdoors. These are placed at the highest level of the home possible, as humidity and pollutants rise.

There are a few different air exchanger models on the market, but the main three types of systems are a fully ducted system, an exhaust ducted system and a simplified system. The fully ducted system works with homes that have hot water or electric baseboard heating and is most effective at capturing pollutants and distributing fresh air to living areas. Both the exhaust ducted system and the simplified system work with homes that have furnaces or forced air heating systems and capture pollutants at their source.

Are they worth it?

Yes! Air exchangers work in several ways to make sure the indoor air quality of your home is not only fresh but clean as well. Firstly, an air exchanger works to balance out the humidity levels of a home. All the indoor activities we take part in while indoors, including cooking, washing dishes, showering and breathing, lead to moist air.

Thus, our indoor air tends to collect a build-up of moisture and humidity. When in excess, this moisture can condense on indoor surfaces, leading to deterioration and damage. Furthermore, a buildup of moisture can lead to mould, mildew, dust and bacteria growing and accumulating. Since an air exchanger deals with the excess humidity in a home, homeowners can rest assured that it will work to balance out moisture levels.

In addition to an excess of moisture, the air inside of your home can become contaminated by appliances that utilize combustion, as these create carbon monoxide as well as other pollutants. Common sources of harmful gases include water heaters, space heaters, chimneys, as well as wood-burning appliances.

Not to mention, if you are living in a new home, the surfaces and materials that were used to build it may emit gasses that are not compatible with acceptable living conditions. Air exchanger units work to fight off these harmful gasses, like carbon monoxide, and push the stale buildup of air toward the outdoors thus mitigating health risks. Beyond the obvious health benefits, an air exchanger is a good idea, always working to create a more comfortable, fresher and better living environment for yourself and your loved ones.

What are some disadvantages of air exchangers?

While its pros outweigh its cons, there are a couple drawbacks to air exchangers worth noting. Firstly is the unit's initial cost which, not including installation, will typically be at least $1,000 for cheaper models. If not, air exchangers can produce a fair amount of noise, especially if not properly maintained and serviced.

Other aspects to consider about this home ventilation system

house interior 

source: canva

Something most homeowners likely do not consider is their indoor air pressure. An air exchange system can work to regulate the pressure inside a home. It is vital when adopting an air exchange unit that it is correctly balanced so that neutral air is maintained in the home. Also, the outdoor climate plays a vital role when choosing an air exchanger for your home’s indoor air.

If you are living in an extremely humid climate, make sure to choose a model that directly deals with humidity levels. If you live in a province that is cold more often than not, make sure to look for a system that controls airflow. This way, you can leave your windows closed!

How it works

This mechanical ventilation system allows the exchange of stale air inside with clean air from outside.The air is diffused by a system of ducts, itself equipped with ventilation grids (located in the different rooms of the house) allowing the suction of fresh air and the evacuation of polluted air.

The different types

fully ducted system: it operates from a hydraulic or electric heating system ;exhaust ducted system/simplified system: they operate from a pulsed air heating system or furnace.

The impact on air quality

balances humidity levels in the home ;purifies the air of various pollutants that can contaminate it (carbon monoxide, a gas found in new homes, etc) ;creating a more comfortable living environment for the whole family.

Other considerations

make sure the air exchanger is well balanced (so that neutral air stays inside the house) ;for a humid climate: choose a device that can handle moisture problems ;for an often cold climate: choose a device that can control air circulation.

Get 3 quotes for your air exchanger installation project

RenoQuotes.com will put you in contact with 3 reliable contractors for your air exchange installation project. Fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted professionals.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

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Last modified 2024-05-10


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