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Growing Body of Research Reveals Link Between Commercial AC Filters and Employee Brain Function

By November 28, 2022 No Comments
8 minutes to read

While there is plenty of research out there pinning the dangers of workplace air quality on things like printer ink, furniture off-gassing, and air fresheners, there is one source of indoor air pollution that has not been so thoroughly investigated: our breath, our body temperature, and a little thing called CO2.  

While the data is not nearly complete as many air scientists would like it to be, there is a growing body of evidence that the mere accumulation of CO2 that can occur in small, enclosed spaces (like your company’s conference room) can lead to noticeable changes in brain function. 

The research, which includes work from the Berkeley Lab and the LBNL Indoor Environment Group, suggests that rapid CO2 buildup can dilate blood vessels, reduce neuron activity, and cause disturbances in communication between different regions in the brain. The result? An overall reduced ability to make effective decisions, which unfortunately is precisely the kind of thing that is done in conference rooms. 

How Cheap AC Filters Prevent Adequate Office Ventilation

While the health effects of CO2 buildup are still being studied, there is no question that increased levels of carbon dioxide in indoor air can point toward system-wide air filtration issues. 

“The buildup of CO2 is one of the more  obvious indicators of a ventilation problem.” Says Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing and Technical Materials at Camfil USA. “Not only do you have to worry about what the extra CO2 is doing to brain function, but the buildup itself means  there could be  other harmful air pollutants that are not being efficiently removed from the air supply.”

Cheap HVAC filters, improperly calibrated systems, changes in occupancy or even changes to the outside environment near the facility can all cause indoor ventilation issues to occur over time. 

The Role of Commercial HVAC Air Filters in Employee Health

Without proper ventilation and air filtration of workplace spaces, there are a number of other harmful airborne pollutants that will have the opportunity to “build up” in the air supply, posing a threat not only to human health but also to the system components themselves, which can degrade when exposed to increased levels of airborne chemicals. 

Commercial HVAC filters should be selected, installed, and replaced based on the needs of the facility compared to the performance capabilities of the air filter. 

Rethinking Rooftop HVAC Filters for Commercial Use 

Packaged rooftop units are one of the most commonly utilized air filtration methods  for commercial HVAC systems. But no matter what type of system is installed, one of the most important things to consider is the type of air filters being used. 

The air filter is one of the smallest and least expensive components in an air handling systems, but it has an impact on how the entire system functions. An air filter that is not up to the task not only increases operation cost, it affects the quality of the air inside the facility. 

Upgrading Your Commercial HVAC Panel Filters 

“The trick is to select an air filter that fits into the narrower space typically found within rooftop HVAC systems, but delivers the desired particle capture efficiency (MERV-A value) with a long service life (high dirt holding capacity) while maintaining a low pressure drop so airflow into the building is maintained at the proper level.” 

That’s not as easy as it sounds says Davidson. 

“Right now, our Camfil 30/30 Dual 9 sits at the top of the list. It has a high MERV-A value, 9/9A, meaning it will deliver MERV 9 air quality for its entire service life. It has a very high dirt holding capacity. In fact, it’s so high, we offer a 9 – 12 month service life guarantee on it. And, it maintains a low average pressure drop throughout its entire service life. It’s the trifecta of panel filters for rooftop air handling units” Davidson added.

Unexpected pressure drops from cheap air filters can result in poor ventilation. It’s  important for industrial, commercial, and retail operators to fully understand the capabilities (and the lack of capabilities) of  the air filters in their units. 

Finding Experienced HVAC Air Filter Companies 

Anyone who is looking to improve their own workplace IAQ should start by finding a commercial air filtration company that knows what’s actually at stake when it comes to office air quality. 

Camfil USA has over 50 years of experience in the design, implementation, and maintenance of commercial and industrial air filtration systems, making them one of the most experiences HVAC filter companies in the country. At their website, you’ll find a number of Design & Engineering tools that can help you plan out an effective, efficient filtration system for your facility or workspace.