Using an air filter in your commercial HVAC system is nothing new. Whether you’ve been handling the maintenance yourself or having professionals handle it a few times a year, someone’s changing out that screen every few weeks in your Havertown, PA building.
But, in 2020, there’s much more to consider.
Indoor air quality’s an important topic as the weather gets cold again. Outdoor dining will disappear for the winter, and social distancing will be more difficult.
Add to that the fact that more people get sick in general in the cold weather, and you’ve got a lot to think about for your customers, clients, and staff.
Fortunately, John Cipollone is here to help! We’ve covered this topic from a few angles here and here. In this article, we’re focusing on your first line of defense: the filter in your commercial HVAC system.
We’ll quickly go over how they work. Then, we’ll dive into the upgrading options, provide updated information on how to get rid of old ones, and more.
What Does The Air Filter On Your HVAC System Do?
The air filter prevents dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants from circulating throughout your building. These pollutants naturally accumulate as people walk in and out of your space. Then, they make their way into the ductwork through the vents.
But, when they reach the filter or screen, they don’t go any further. These contaminants get trapped in the screen instead of circulating through the system and spreading throughout the building.
Filters play a crucial role in your heating and cooling, along with your indoor air quality. But you have to stay on top of them.
We recommend changing them out every month. Once they get clogged, they’ll begin weakening your air circulation. That makes people too hot or too cold, and eventually, it damages the system overall.
That’s the quick recap on what they are and how they work. Now, let’s discuss how you can use them in 2020.
Upgrading Commercial Air Filters
This year, “dust, dirt, and debris” aren’t exactly the most pressing problems when people think of being indoors. It’s more like “virus,” “transmission,” and “masks.” We can address these with the right air filters.
Now, your average filter won’t do much, if anything, to prevent bacteria, viruses, or germs from spreading. These tiny microorganisms are so small that they pass right through the screen.
But, you can upgrade to a model designed to catch particles this small. You can tell how strong your filter is by its MERV rating.
The standard screens rate around eight, and the highest one you can get is 16. But, don’t go top-shelf just yet.
As the ratings go up, the screens get stronger. They prevent smaller and smaller particles from passing through. But, they all affect your air circulation, too.
Even the standard models create some air resistance. And, the strongest ones are usually too strong to use without additional equipment. Even on a commercial system, you run the risk of weakening your air circulation way too much.
How to Change HVAC Air Filters In 2020
The basic procedure for changing an air filter hasn’t changed this year. But, we recommend taking a few extra precautions. But, before we get into them, we need to talk about how long to keep one in the first place.
We mentioned above that you should change out the screen every four weeks or so. We’ve seen some people go as long as three months, but one month is ideal.
The reason, again, is that the filter clogs over time. But recently, we’ve seen a few recommendations to leave them in longer than usual.
As the dust and dirt build up, the thinking is that over time the clogging means smaller particles — like viruses — will get caught there as well.
So, according to this theory, leaving it in for a long time “upgrades” the screen to catch the contaminants you’re anxious about.
Does it work? Maybe. Is it worth trying? Not really.
First off, you have no way of telling if this is actually working for you. You could be jamming up your system for no reason.
So, you’re better off changing them on the same schedule as usual. But, that doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten at least some virus particles building up on the filter. So, you should take extra precautions.
Wear a mask when you change the filter, and slide it directly from the system into a garbage bag. Try not to jostle or shake the screen too much. Then, take the bag outside and tie it up.
Go Beyond Air Filters To Improve Indoor Air Quality
We called air filters your “first line of defense” when it comes to using your heating and cooling system to improve your indoor air quality. Upgrading the screen is a significant first step. But, if you’re looking to make some huge strides in keeping people healthy, you can go much further.
Your next step can be an air purifier that hooks directly to your HVAC system. These come equipped with some of the strongest filters around — but they also use a separate blower motor to prevent additional air resistance.
Here in Havertown, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the AirScrubber with an AprilAire filter. The screen blocks microorganisms, and the purifier uses ultraviolet light to eradicate them once they’re trapped.
HVAC Service Near Havertown, PA
When it comes to HVAC service and keeping your air clean, you have a lot of options, and they can get overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend all your time worrying about the air quality in your commercial building in or near Havertown, PA. John Cipollone can help!
Call or email us any time to set up a free consultation. Once we inspect your space and learn more about your specific concerns, we’ll help you tailor a solution that’s perfect for your commercial property.