IAQ and Facility Management: HVAC Cleanliness and Selecting Filters

In an HVAC system, the first line of defense in protecting building occupants against indoor air pollutants is an air filter.

Industrial filterToday, facility managers are under increased pressure to provide clean air. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can cause serious infections as well as lung cancer and lung disease such as asthma, according to the American Lung Association.

The association says if the air quality is poor, building occupants may also suffer from symptoms such as nasal congestion, headaches, dry eyes, nausea and fatigue.

Those with compromised immune systems, including the elderly and infants, are at greater risks of developing symptoms or lung infections due to inadequate IAQ. That’s why it’s particularly important to address IAQ issues in healthcare facilities.

But IAQ is not just a health issue.

Poor indoor air quality is reported to cost the US economy about $160 billion annually due to medical expenses and lower productivity, according to FacilityManagment.com. In fact, adults in the US miss approximately 24.5 million days of work every year due to symptoms attributed to poor indoor air quality and asthma.

The first line of defense is preventing pollutants from entering the building’s air. One of the more important jobs of an HVAC system is providing effective air filtration to reduce the microorganisms, dust and allergens in the air.

Selecting the appropriate air filter for a facility’s HVAC system is one of the first steps in achieving quality indoor air.

Most filters, except for HEPA and ULPA filters, have a MERV rating, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV 1, the lowest level, is the least efficient type of filter, while a MERV 16 is the highest level, and the most efficient.

For the best filter option, select one with a MERV value of 14-16, according to Tony Fedel, the Associate Marketing Director at Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration. Also select a filter that offers a balance of mechanical efficiency and electret efficiency.

Fedel advises against choosing a filter that only uses mechanical efficiency.

“The electrostatic effects created in an electret-charged media are particularly useful in increasing the capture efficiency for submicron particles. This is because, while submicron particles are much smaller than the void spaces present in most commercial electret media, the electrostatic forces within the media structure allow those particles to be removed with high efficiency,” he notes.

He adds that, “In addition, charge-enhanced mechanical filters almost always deliver lower airflow resistance in the same filter construction as mechanical-only filters, which translates into reduced energy costs.”

Besides using proper air filters, cleaning the HVAC system regularly keeps it running efficiently while also maintaining quality indoor air. Dirty HVAC systems are breeding grounds for mold, bacteria and viruses.

Goodway offers products to keep your HVAC system clean. You can remove dry debris from vacuum coils and fins with our CoilVac, which acts as a vacuum and a blower to reach and remove dirt and dust from every area.

Our line of CoilPro cleaners blasts away dirt and grime, and offers chemical injection for extra cleaning power.

CoilShine includes a blend of fast-acting detergents with a self-advancing foam formula to clean even the dirtiest coils. CoilShine-BC is our commercial-grade treatment that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.

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