Air Filter Testing

Changing Air Filters Keeps Office Building Air Clean, HVAC’s Running Smoothly

By December 3, 2015 18 Comments

Regularly changing Camfil air filters in commercial buildings can help tenants as well as building owners and managers

Those in commercial office buildings are there to make a living, so they want to stay healthy so they can get their work done. Office owners and managers want to give their tenants what they want, while controlling maintenance and energy costs. A recent Google+ hangout features Charlie Seyffer, Camfil USA’s manager of marketing and technical material, who discusses how both sides can reach their goals if air filters are changed regularly—but at the proper time.

Camfil USA is a leader in air filtration systems for commercial buildings and many other industries. The air inside those buildings, if not properly filtered, could pose an even greater health risk to tenants and visitors than outside air. Changing air filters can reduce those health risks.

Three reasons why indoor air needs to be kept clean, according to the Vermont Department of Health,

  • We spend up to 90% of our time indoors and those of us working in offices are in commercial buildings about half our waking hours during the week.
  • Many potentially toxic materials could be in the indoor atmosphere including particles and gases from: man made building materials and furnishings, cleaning supplies, personal care products, pesticides, dust and particles from office equipment.
  • To save energy modern office buildings are better insulated and sealed tighter, preventing air conditioned or heated air from escaping. With less fresh air, air quality can decline.

Depending on the circumstances the health effects of hazardous indoor air can be severe,

  • Indoor air pollutants can cause or worsen allergies, infections and asthma attacks.
  • Increased levels of viruses and bacteria can cause respiratory illnesses.
  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) exposure can impact the lungs, brain and nervous system.

In addition to the health benefits, Seyffer says there are four main reasons to regularly change air filters in commercial buildings.

1. Energy Savings

If a filter is left in the system too long, the resistance against the air movement will cause the HVAC system’s fan to work harder, increasing power use and electric bills. “You want to change the filter at the optimum point where you get the most return on energy. A $10 pleated filter may cost $60 a year in electricity. You want that down to $40 a year,” Seyffer says.

2. Return on Investment

Try to get the most out of the filter for the cost you’re paying, but don’t go past the point where electric use increases or the filter stops working.

3. System Protection

“If a filter is left in the system too long, it can fail or collapse and unload the contaminants into the system causing a lot of expense because the HVAC system would need to be cleaned,” Seyffer warns.

4. Labor

The fewer times a filter needs to be changed, the lower the labor costs.

Even if a filter looks dirty on the outside, Seyffer says that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for a change. The material in the filter may be able to handle contaminants for a long period.

Seyffer suggests use of a magnehelic differential pressure gauge in order to best decide when it’s time to change a filter.

  • The pressure drop (the decrease in pressure between two ends of a duct or in a system caused by friction losses) in an HVAC system with a new filter normally measures about .25 on such a gauge.
  • It should be changed at a reading of about .50. This would be a good way to balance getting the most from a filter without risking increased power use or leaked contaminants. The rule of thumb is when the initial pressure drop doubles, it’s time to change the filter.

You can learn more about how Camfil helps commercial buildings keep their air clean while controlling their energy needs by reading about Camfil’s clean air solutions.

The world leader in air filtration systems, Camfil provides clean air solutions for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, data centers, educational institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality and reduce airborne particulates, all while lowering total cost of ownership. For more information, visit us online at www.camfil.us or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.

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