Businesses in York, PA reopening in the late summer and early fall of 2020 will have a lot more to consider in a few months. Based on everything we’ve seen, indoor air quality is due to be a huge topic. Part of that is what kind of air filters you’re using in your commercial HVAC system.
Right now, many places are doing okay without any significant changes to their heating and cooling. Any site that can use their outdoor space— bars and restaurants, retail spaces where people can stand in line outside — isn’t too concerned.
Then, depending on your setup, you may get through September and October with your windows open. After that, however, it’s heater season — and there’s a lot to consider there.
We’ve already talked a lot about indoor air quality and air purification here. This article zeroes in on your HVAC filter. It’s something you already have, but something you should also reconsider this year.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or want to have the “cleanest air on the block” in York, PA, call or email Air Comfort Technologies. We’ll help you find the products you need and the best strategies to keep our indoor air quality as good as possible.
Commercial HVAC Air Filters 101
Commercial HVAC air filters don’t work any differently than the ones in your home. Their job is to trap dust, dirt, and other particles as they pass through the ductwork. This way, they don’t keep recirculating throughout your space.
Of course, a commercial building system can be much more complex than the one in our house. And, unless you’re working in the maintenance department, you probably won’t change one yourself.
With all that mind, however, your standard air filter will not protect you against viruses. The screen, generally, can’t trap microorganisms as small as those or bacteria. However, there are some instances where even a “regular” filter will catch some of these tiny particles. You can’t rely on that, but you should be aware of it when it’s time to replace one.
How Often Should I Change the Filter?
We always recommend changing the air filter once a month. You’ll see some places say it’s okay to get a new one every three months — that equates to when the seasons change. That’s mostly fine, but the best is still every four weeks or so.
You need to change it because, eventually, the screen gets clogged. When it gets bad enough, it affects the circulation in the building because not even air can get through it. Tent, your space is too cold in winter or too hot and humid in the summer.
Now, there’s a caveat when it comes to our concerns today about viruses and the like. There’s an emerging school of thought that says a clogged air filter might actually be better. The idea is a screen that’s not rated to catch microscopic particles will begin to trap them as it’s getting full.
Is it true? Kind of. We’ve heard an expert or two talk about it. But, we’re putting this in the “jury’s still out category.” And, as far as we’re concerned, the bad can easily outweigh the good here
For instance, how do you find the balance between keeping a clogged filter and reducing your system’s performance? Clog it too much, and you’ll damage your fan or blower. In the winter, you could end up with a cracked heat exchanger as the hot air backs up and overheats the system.
And, how do you measure the effectiveness? You’re not counting viral particles in the air, so there’s no way to know. You’re better off investing in some other strategies, which we’ll get to below.
New Recommendations for Cleaning or Throwing Out Filters
Here are two new pieces of advice that we do recommend. One has to do with the “usual” disposable filter, the other with some reusable models.
First, take extra care when removing and handling a filter. As we said, it’s possible — but not guaranteed — that your screen will trap virus particles. The longer it’s been on there, the more likely it is that there are some on there.
So, it’s a good idea to carefully remove it and put it right into a garbage bag that you seal immediately. You don’t want to shake anything loose.
If you have one that’s reusable but needs cleaning, do it carefully and do it outside if possible. In any situation where you’d use a power washer in the past, don’t do it now. It will clean off whatever it hits, but it will also spread any particles far and wide.
Should I Get a Stronger Filter?
You can get a more robust filter that will trap smaller particles. This is measured by MERV or HEPA ratings. The higher the MERV, the smaller the particles it traps. HEPA is stronger than MERV, but usually, they’re too strong except for specialized equipment.
To that point, you also can’t just go out and get the highest MERV-rated filter and slap it in. If it’s too small, you get the same problem as a clogged filter: weak air circulation.
If you’re looking for extra protection, the better bet is an air purifier that hooks directly up to the HVAC system. These often use a more robust filter combined with a dedicated blower so that it doesn’t affect the airflow.
HVAC Service in York, PA
HVAC service is more tricky — and more important — in 2020. Your heating and cooling system can play a crucial role in your indoor air quality. So, you want it working at its best — and possibly doing more than it ever did before.
If you’re looking for more ways to get “the cleanest air on the block” in York, PA, call or email us at Air Comfort Technologies.