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Community and Q&A

Weird smell coming from vents after ERV installation

green654 | Posted in General Questions on


we just paid a lot of money to have an ERV installed along with whole house dehumidifier and Lennox whole house hepa air purification system. As soon as they connected all the components and turned it on, there is a strange smelling odor coming from all the vents in the house. Even the kids smell it. It’s not a
moldy/musty smell. I’m ts
more like a chemical. I’ve  had the company back twice to investigate and they told me everything is set up and connected perfectly. I’m very unsettled by it and don’t know what to do. The smell goes away completely when I shit down entire system. It’s still there when
o have AC on but not ERV. Advice? It’s heen about three weeks since installed and I’m tempted to
hav e them take everything out. We didn’t ha e this smell before. The AC is only a couple months old. Thanks for any thoughts you
can sure!

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  1. BirchwoodBill | | #1

    Is this brand new duct work? Is ERV connected into the system or is its own duct work? Is the dehumidifier new? Did they use a spray foam to seal any duct work? Have you contacted an independent third party?

  2. green654 | | #2

    Yes, the new parts of the system have brand new duct work. Yes, dehumidifier is brand new. It’s an April Air whole house dehumidifier to dehumidify the hot humid air coming in through the ERV before it goes throughout the house so we don’t get a mold problem, they did not use spray foam. When you say third party, do you mean another HVAC company? Or a company that does indoor environmental air testing?

  3. Expert Member
    Akos | | #3

    My ERV had a smell to it when new. It is hard to describe, defiantly not a solvent/plastic type of smell. The smell went away after about a week of operation.

    You can disconnect the fresh air outlet on the ERV and give it a sniff to see if the smell is indeed from the unit. You can let it run for a week and see if it gets better or you can put a short piece of jumper duct between the fresh air supply and stale air pickup and have it cycle air from outside through the unit and back out.

  4. BirchwoodBill | | #4

    I meant a company that does indoor air quality testing. Does the ERV manufacturer allow a dehumidifier to be used inline? Most of the documents that I am reading call for separate duct systems. I have seen one exception where the dehumidifier goes into the air handling unit. Are you sure the system was designed to the manufacturers specifications?

  5. nicole18 | | #5

    I’m about to have a Zehnder erv installed (we know to not use toxic duct or duct tape, insulation etc) and have extreme chemical sensitivities. I am concerned about the plastic smell but do plan to be out of house of house for its first week while it off gasses. We also have an RS4 whole house purification with major activated carbon and also additional filters and Carbon charcoal bags all over house so I’m hopeful. Any tips or concerns I should have?

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