Do you know what the proper humidity level should be in your home? Your Heat Recovery Ventilation or HRV as most call it, helps control your home’s humidity level and keep your home’s air clean and fresh.
Why do you need an HRV?
An HRV is a ventilation device that helps make your home healthier, cleaner, and more comfortable by continuously replacing stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. New homes are more airtight, which helps save energy but can make the inside air stale. To complement this airtightness, modern homes use HRVs to distribute fresh air throughout the house.
Here are FIVE important things you should know about your HRV unit to help you stay healthy and comfortable in your home! Pay particular attention to #5.
1. Some activities create dust or vapors which may damage your unit. You must, therefore, turn off and unplug your unit in the following situations: • major renovation work • housing construction • sanding (e.g. gypsum joints, etc.) • varnishing
2. During heavy snow storms, turn off the unit to avoid problems caused by snow penetration, even if it is equipped with anti-gust intake hood. Check the exterior of your home to make sure the vents for the units are not located in an area where snow will build up around them…if so be sure to keep it cleared. It only stands to reason that if you unit is running and drawing in fresh air it may also pull in snow that will melt inside the unit and prevent it from working properly.
3. Power disturbances or very short power failures may cause the electronic control microprocessor to malfunction. If it does, disconnect the power plug from the outlet and wait approximately 30 seconds, then plug it back in to resume operation.
4. Remove and clean the filters. At least twice a year you should remove the filters in your unit and clean them. They are easy to remove and only need a gentle cleaning with soap and water…easy peasy. This will help your unit function more effeciently.
5. The most important of all – Maintain a healthy humidity level in your home.
A couple of years ago, during the winter months, I was waking up every morning with a sore throat and dryness in my nose. After a visit to my Doctor and a bunch of allery testing, I discovered my problem was due to the extreme dryness caused by low humidity in my home…it was at 30% relative humidity, which is way too low a number for our comfort and health. As advised by the HRV installer, the unit was set on a Smart Mode setting. I was led to believe this would control the proper hunidity levels, but that the case. The unit was removing way too much moisture from the air. I also assumed the HRV unit should remain on at all times to keep the air fresh and clean, but also not the case. So now I only turn the unit on periodically for 20 mins or so to freshen the air and to remove only the excess moisture.
What is the recommeded humidity level to keep you healthy and your home comfortable?
If you need a little more humidity in your home or your bedrooms consider adding a humidifier in that room. Or you can just place a pot of water in that room and it will evaporate into the room to keep the humidity level up.
Every homeowner should own a hygrometer that measures temperature and relative humidity (RH). The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is about 40–50%. In the winter months, it may have to be lower than 40% RH to avoid condensation on the windows. Anything below 30% RH may be hazardous to your health, so make sure you monitor this closely during the winter months.
A digital humidity reader can be purchased at most hardware stores and are not expensive. They start at $10 and go up from there.
To keep healthy and be comfortable in your home, plus prolong the life of your HRV unit, be sure to follow these 5 important things recommended.
I wish you warmth, health and happiness in your home at all times.
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