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HVAC filters, maintenance & air cleaning: What you need to know

04/29/24 3 min reading time HealthCost reduction

If you're like many business owners, you probably don't think about your HVAC filters all that often. However, going too long without changing out your HVAC air filters can adversely affect the air quality in your business, and in turn, the health of your employees and the sustainability of your company. 

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Why it's so important to maintain your HVAC filters

Changing filters in your air cleaning system can seem like just another task on a long list of tasks. There are countless reasons why businesses don’t pay attention to filter intervals, including the common but mistaken assumption that “surely the filter can last a little longer.” Some people even assume that they’re saving money by running the filters for longer than their design life – but the opposite is true.

Regardless of the reasoning for ignoring them, the “change filter” alert exists for a reason. Leaving an already-clogged filter in place increases the cost of air conditioning maintenance and HVAC maintenance, and it’s bad for the facility, the employees and the business’s bottom line.

Why changing your HVAC air filter is more efficient and economical

A filter without power doesn’t do anything. To effectively capture airborne particles, air must be pushed through a filter by a fan. The longer the filter remains in place, the more it will become blocked off by particles and the more power it will require to stay effective.

Surprisingly, the highest cost in air cleaning – and air conditioning and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) – is not filters but power. The filters themselves, combined with installation and maintenance, make up just 10 - 15 % of the system’s price. 

Almost all of the rest of the costs come from energy – that’s 70 - 90 % – with filter disposal making up the remaining 1 - 3 %. In other words, running HVAC air filters for longer than they were designed for to save money actually does the opposite! Operating a system with clogged filters can also have a significant environmental impact.

Choosing the right tools for the job

Some people mistakenly assume that their HVAC or air conditioning system can clean the air in their facility. While the systems do include filters, they are not intended for everyday air filtration.

The filters are only there to protect the fragile heating and cooling – or “conditioning” – elements of the system from small amounts of dust. Most systems use MERV 8 filters for this, which do very little to remove airborne particles from the air we breathe.

While they’re great for keeping workplaces at a comfortable temperature and ensuring that air is circulating, businesses that rely on standard HVAC systems for air cleaning are putting their employees in danger.

To actually filter the air, facilities need a dedicated air cleaning solution. This will also cut down on the need for air conditioning maintenance and HVAC maintenance and the frequency at which you need to change their filters, as the air cleaning system will capture most of the dust and particulate in the air first.

Changing HVAC air filters means saving money

hvac and filter clogging

By implementing an air cleaning solution in a facility alongside the HVAC system, filters will remain unclogged for longer and the power required to drive the system will be lower. The cost savings from lower energy consumption alone are 5 - 15%.

This is in addition to all the other benefits of clean air, such as improving employee health, machine longevity, reducing the frequency of necessary cleanings, and more.

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