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A lot of domestic HVAC systems do not vent out stale air and draw in fresh outside air to circulate. Instead, the same stale air gets recirculated, as a result of which, the air in your home becomes polluted and unhealthy. So much so that experts from the EPA believe that unless refreshed, the indoor air quality can be a lot more polluted and harmful than the outdoor air quality, even in urban environments.
The answer to tackle this indoor air pollution problem is to install an air exchanger. In this short read, we’ll explain to you what an air exchanger is and its importance in modern homes.
What is an air exchanger?
While older homes are bound to have cracks and crevices through which stale air gets out of the house and fresh air passes from the outside leak indoors, newer homes are built to be more airtight in order to make them better insulated and more energy-efficient. This makes getting cross-ventilation particularly difficult, especially during the winter months in colder climates.
A residential air exchanger is just what the doctor ordered to remediate the situation. An air exchanger is a system that exhausts the stale air in your home while simultaneously sucking in fresh outdoor air. The concept is similar to opening the vents in your car while driving with the windows closed. The result is a constant supply of fresh air inside your home for as long as the air exchanger is running.
How do air exchangers work?
An air exchanger unit comes with two input ports and two output ports. While a fan connected to an input port sucks in stale air from the indoors of our house and redirects it to be exhausted through an output port, a second fan, connected to an input fan directed towards the outside of our homes, sucks in fresh air from the outside and redirects it an output port connected to the home’s HVAC ducts.
Most air exchangers also have in-built heat exchangers, or heat recovery ventilation, that retains the heat of the hot air being exhausted and transfers it to the fresh outside air being pumped in. These are called energy recovery ventilators (ERV).
Why are air exchangers essential?
There are multiple reasons why air exchangers are essential in modern homes.
- Every time we cook, use the shower or even breathe, we release pollutants into the air. In addition, a lot of other allergens, such as dust, pollen, and dander are also airborne in our homes. If this polluted air is not exhausted and replaced with fresh air, it is bound to have negative repercussions on our health. An air exchanger will not only do this for us, the in-built filter on the device will also trap external pollutants, pumping only clean air into our homes. This greatly reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses and other serious ailments.
- Without an air exchanger, the hot air produced by the HVAC systems in our homes has nowhere to escape to. As this air accumulates inside, humidity rises as well. This humidity causes the moisture content of the air to increase. Air exchangers help regulate the humidity levels and moist air in our houses, giving us a drier, more comfortable living environment.
- Air exchangers, while helping us keep our homes odor-free in the months we cannot open windows to cross ventilate our homes, also help in reducing the risk of mold growth.
The average cost of an air exchanger unit varies from $980 to $1200. However, total costs including supplies and labor to get the air exchanger installed could put you down between $1250 to $1800