Reviewed and Revised on 10/31/2013
Installation costs of an air-to-air heat exchanger can cost $500 and up, depending upon the home size and the system requirements. Installation could involve splicing the exchanger into an existing original system to adding new ducting to the home structure.
A home already using ducts for heating and/or cooling most likely already has the ducting to ensure all the air runs through the exchanger. Simply attaching the system to a supply end may be all that is required.
Many homes have electric baseboard or hot water heating. Adding an air-to-air heat exchanger with these types of heating systems however requires some thought. The most common mistake with do-it-yourself installations is failing to vent the entire home properly. The problem can be seen in the lower right of the first image below. The airflow from the supply to the return duct never enters the majority of 3 rooms. Fresh air constantly circulates through part of the home, recycling that portion of the home without exchanging air in another portion of the home. The second image below shows a more complete ventilation system that serves the entire living space.
An exchanger can be installed in a number of different locations in a home, including attics and basements.
Air-to-Air Heat Exchanger Maintenance