Replacing your facility’s HVAC air filter is similar to getting your oil changed; it’s easy to overlook in the short-term, but carries expensive consequences in the long-run if neglected. Crucially, changing your air filters consistently will extend the overall life of your HVAC unit and reduce the need for expensive repairs, because filters are essentially the first line of defense for your HVAC units.
But not all air filters are created equal, so you'll want to make sure you choose the right one for the job. Here are some key factors you should look for in your next HVAC air filter replacement:
It's a simple truth: inefficient air filters can increase costs for both energy usage and HVAC equipment repairs. And considering that more than 30% of a building's energy consumption goes to the heating, cooling, and moving of air, routine HVAC air filter replacement service is a small investment that pays significant dividends in the long-run.
One of the main causes of air filter inefficiency is air bypass. Air bypass occurs because traditional box filters are designed to be a half inch shorter than the filter track on all sides for ease of installation. These gaps allow dirt and debris to travel into your unit's evaporator coil. Over time, this dirt and debris build up, reducing air flow and forcing your HVAC to use more energy to cool the space.
Custom-fit continuous media filters provide a solution to air bypass. These filters create a gasket-like seal within the HVAC filter track, stopping dirt from going between and around the filter. And the cost benefits speak for themselves. In the short-term, this type of air filtration system keeps energy costs low by maintaining your HVAC's efficiency. In the long-run, it reduces expensive service calls by protecting your unit's internal components, like the evaporator coils.
When choosing an HVAC air filter replacement, make sure you aren't sacrificing air quality to save on costs. Because, unfortunately, the hidden costs associated with poor indoor air quality (IAQ) are much greater than you might think.
When IAQ is compromised, it can seriously impact your company’s bottom line: studies have shown that for every 1,000 workers, poor IAQ results in 600 sick days per year. This loss in productivity can be easily avoided by choosing the right filter for your HVAC, and establishing a regular planned preventive maintenance schedule for filter replacements. To improve IAQ, you'll want to consider the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of your HVAC air filter replacement. This value indicates how effective an air filter is at purifying the air in different environments.
How often you should replace your HVAC air filter? That answer depends on your environment and facility needs.
Areas with higher levels of particulate in the air will need to replace their HVAC air filters more frequently. For example, units located in dusty regions like Texas and Arizona may require filter replacement more often than areas with clean mountain air. Similarly, localized factors like heavy traffic next to your facility can also influence how quickly your filters become clogged.
The function of your facility will also factor into your HVAC air filter replacement schedule. Facilities that require increased airflow or create particulates in the air, such as printing workshops, will need to replace their filters more often. Likewise, facilities that require a sterile environment, like labs and hospitals, will also want to change their filters frequently.
A good rule of thumb is that HVAC air filters be changed every quarter, but your HVAC service provider should work with you to determine the optimal replacement schedule for your environment and facility needs.
Choosing the right air filter for your HVAC and prioritizing planned preventive maintenance is an important part of reducing your facility's overall costs.
The right filter can:
Combining a high-performance filter with regular preventive maintenance service is a long-term investment in the health of your facility that can be customized to meet your unique needs — and it's absolutely worth it.
Are you looking to improve the reliability and efficiency of your HVAC unit?Watch our Pleatlink System® Demonstration video to learn more!
About the Authors
Dave Kent is the Vice President of Product Development for BFC Solutions and has been with the company for over 30 years. When he's not working with air filtration, he enjoys unwinding amidst peaceful and quiet surroundings. Rich Dorsey is the Director of Enterprise Solutions for BFC Solutions and has been with the company for 9 years. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, following SEC Football, and exploring the great outdoors. Contact Rich Dorsey at firstname.lastname@example.org