When it comes to providing a quality work environment and protecting a building’s occupants against indoor air pollutants, an air filter becomes one of the most important components of a HVAC system.
Today’s facility managers have a wide variety of concerns to keep a building operational. Increasingly, clean air is topping the list. Studies have come out showing poor indoor air quality can cause nasal congestion, headaches, nausea, fatigue, serious infections, asthma, and even chronic conditions such as lung disease. Those with compromised immune systems, especially infants and the elderly, are at a greater risk of developing symptoms due to inadequate air quality.
But its not just health that is at stake. Poor indoor air quality costs the US economy around $160 billion annually in increased medical costs and in reduced productivity. Adults are missing around 24.5 million days of work every year just for symptoms attributed to poor indoor air quality.
The first line of defense is preventing pollutants from entering a building’s air supply is ensuring the incoming air flow is unobstructed. Which means one of the most important jobs an HVAC system has to do is protect the air through an effective air filtration system, which will reduce microorganisms, dust, allergens and other pollutants.
Selecting an appropriate air filter is one of the first steps in achieving quality air. Most filters on the market today have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. A MERV 1 is the lowest level, which means it’s the least efficient type of filter. The highest level is a MERV 16, and is the most efficient. Most filtration experts agree that if you install an air filter within the MERV 14-16 range, you’ll be providing the best for the system. Also select a filter that offers a balance of mechanical and electret efficiency.
Using a proper air filter is only the starting point for cleaner air. To keep an HVAC system running properly, its important to maintain the overall system as well. A dirty HVAC system is a breeding ground for mold, bacteria and viruses. Its important to remove debris on a regular basis, both by vacuuming and blowing out dirt and dust from the area.
Air filters also only work as well as the quality of the air filter. If its old and dirty, it can’t do its job effectively. Make sure your air filters are routinely cleaned and changed for optimal performance.
If you have any questions about the quality of your indoor air, or don’t have a regular maintenance schedule in place for your HVAC system, isn’t it time for a change?