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Community and Q&A

HRV ERV Inline Pre-Filter

PrairieBurner | Posted in General Questions on


I think I’ve decided on purchasing the Broan HRV160TE.

I’m wondering it would be wise to install inline filters for both the intake ports to help save the expensive, built in filters and core.  Something like this:



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  1. joshdurston | | #1

    Pre-Filters are good, keep in mind you'll have to insulate the enclosure to prevent condensation.
    I would try and find a prefilter solution that accommodates 4" thick standard furnace size (16x24x4??) filters. I don't think that box has much more surface area than the internal filter would have.
    With an HRV (not ERV) you can often wash the core, but having some decent square footage on your return filter will increase the service interval and/or reduce the airflow imbalance that occurs as filters slowly accumulate debris.

  2. JC72 | | #2

    I don't see any reason to unnecessarily reduce the flow of outside air into the ERV/HRV. These systems are not designed to require a pre-filter.

  3. user_8675309 | | #3

    Just be careful on cleaning the stock filters. I have a Broan HRV160 with the ECM motors and the filters are very fragile. I wash them in a sheet pan that usually I use for baking but needed a flat surface to immerse these in. If you are not careful the filter separates from the frame quite easily and it is a bear to get them back in. Broan does not view this as any type of warranty issue, as I tried. And with new ones costing $60-80 they are not something you want to replace often.

    1. PrairieBurner | | #4

      Thanks for the reply! That's great to know.

      How do you like the machine? Quirks or issues? I've had no luck finding reviews or real-world info about this device.

      1. user_8675309 | | #6

        Other than the fragile filters I have no complaints. I have had this in operation for just over 2 years, running 24/7 on low ventilation mode except during the summer I have it off when I can have windows open in the house. I am up in Anchorage Alaska so it runs 8 months of the year. I think the hardest part of the whole process was learning/figuring out/installing the duct runs. I felt lucky to find a guy who does this for a living in Fairbanks who was super helpful with all my questions. If I hadn't gutted my basement I would not have attempted this, but since everything was exposed it certainly was easier, though not simple. In conclusion, I am happy with the unit and glad I put it in.

  4. PrairieBurner | | #5

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I was thinking of dust/pollen from the outside airstream and cat fur/etc from the inside airstream prematurely fouling the expensive device filters.

    I figured the 10x10 (100 sq. in.) filter wouldn't restrict the airflow of the 6in round (28.27 sq. in) ductwork.

    1. user_8675309 | | #7

      I like the idea of a prefilter a lot, but agree with Josh above about insulating the enclosure, which would be tricky to accomplish. Speaking of filters, check out this site about a nice set up to filter the air(after it goes though the HRV, though) . Only other thing I can suggest is to find a long bottle brush that will fit into the drain tubes and clean the gunk/funk out that tends to accumulate after awhile.

  5. charlie_sullivan | | #8

    Zehnder has prefilters on each exhaust vent. It's a bit of a hassle to walk around to each and replace them, but they are cheap and help keep the ducts clean, as well as saving the more expensive filters. Then there's also a filter on each incoming air stream on the unit itself. I have mine set up with a prefilter on the incoming air outside air, which gets dirty enough that I am glad I have that to save the more expensive filter on the intake of the unit. Because there is a lot of wood smoke in my area, I have a carbon filter on the supply air after the unit. The carbon filter works better after the temperature and humidity are moderated.

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