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Damien McCusker, Manager of Arpi's residential service division, has been working in the HVAC industry for 16 years and has hands-on experience in new home installations, furnace and air conditioner replacements, sales and residential service. He spends most of his spare time being an UBER driver, driving his kids to soccer practice and games.

How to Troubleshoot HRV and ERV Ventilation Problems

Phil Laprairie

How to Troubleshoot HRV and ERV Ventilation ProblemsWhile troubleshooting HRV and ERV problems is doable for the average homeowner, most actual repairs of these balanced ventilation systems will have to be handled by a qualified HVAC service tech. Trying a few basic measures first, however, may resolve a simple situation or at least help narrow down the problem so you can effectively describe it to service personnel.

A typical heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator system is composed of a central unit that incorporates a dedicated blower fan for both intake and exhaust ventilation air streams. Also included are individual filters for each air stream and a central core that exchanges heat in an HRV or heat as well as water vapor in an ERV. A condensate drain system collects condensation and conveys it to a household drain system.

Before scheduling a service call with your local HVAC contractor, take these simple steps for troubleshooting HRV and ERV problems.

For Both Systems

If an HRV or ERV does not run at all, first check your main electrical panel for a tripped circuit breaker. Reset the circuit breaker and power up the system again. If the unit operates normally, you may have solved the problem. However, if the circuit breaker trips again, discontinue further troubleshooting and contact qualified service personnel.  

If airflow seems insufficient, check the intake and exhaust filters. Clean the filters per the manufacturer’s instructions, then re-install the filters and try the system again. If airflow is not improved, call for professional service.

For ERVs Only

If outdoor temperatures have dropped below 23 degrees, the central core of the unit may be frozen, inhibiting both heat and humidity transfer. This automatically activates defrost mode that interrupts normal function for up to 20 minutes. Wait and see if the ERV operates normally after defrosting before calling for service.

For HRVs Only

If leaking condensate is an issue, verify that the drain tube is not kinked or otherwise obstructed, and that is installed on a slope to allow gravity flow.

When troubleshooting HRV and ERV problems calls for qualified professional service expertise, contact Arpi's Industries.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “iQoncept/Shutterstock”

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