How can an air filtration and IAQ site survey benefit you?

Not all air filters are created equal, and the cost to operate a filter is far more significant than simply buying one. By getting an indoor air quality (IAQ) and air filtration site survey, you can determine what your current filtration system is costing you versus other options, and your organization can potentially save energy and money and have cleaner indoor air. Another benefit of a site survey is determining the efficiency of your current air filters compared to other options. In this article, we will explain the benefits of conducting a site survey. 

A comprehensive site survey service assesses various air filtration solutions. The survey can use any of the following: particle counters, pressure gauges, airflow meters, and energy data loggers. These tools provide precise data on air quality, pressure, airflow, energy consumption, and corrosion. Two or more sets of filters are placed in  air handling units operating under the same conditions and similar velocities.

Energy consumption and air filters

Air filtration requires significant energy consumption, 70% of which is attributed to fan energy usage. building management systems (BMS) can record energy usage. At the same time, the Camfil CamTester, a mobile test unit, calculates energy cost by recording electrical output and using the facility’s current price per kWh.

Measuring and comparing particle capture efficiency

Particle capture efficiency is determined using ASHRAE 52.2-(latest edition) with Appendix J test reports to ensure that the advertised MERV rating on the packaging is the actual performance provided throughout the life of the filter. In-situ testing following ASHRAE and ISO guidelines can also be requested.  

How is expected air filter service life determined?

Air filter service life is determined by pressure drop. Filters with lower average pressure drop achieve longer service life, have reduced maintenance needs, require less labour, and produce less landfill waste. Test reports provide detailed performance and total cost of ownership TCO insights.

Higher dirt-holding capacity leads to extended service life, fewer filter changeouts and maintenance, air filter cost savings, better system performance, and better indoor air quality. More dirt-holding capacity can reduce energy consumption when filters are not clogged.

Once the results are established, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the air filters tested is determined. A facility can choose which filter represents the best performance and value according to its needs.

What are the benefits of comparing different air filters?

Comparing multiple filters allows a facility to explore different options. For example, you can choose a low-cost pleated filter like an Aeropleat III or opt for a higher-end filter like a 30/30. Finally, the  best-in-class 30/30 Dual 9 filter is another option.

All three filters have individual performance characteristics, and each may be preferable to the other in a given situation. For instance, comparing two final filter solutions – one a two-stage solution and the other a single-stage bag filter – the single-stage solution may deliver more energy savings, increased longevity, and labour savings as less maintenance is required. However, there is always a trade-off between cost and performance. It’s best to draw up detailed comparisons and determine which option best suits your needs.

“One company I worked with a few years ago found that by switching from a three-stage filter solution to a two-stage solution, the lower pressure drop resulted in a greater volume of air through the system and into the building. Rather than adjust the VFD and slow down the speed of the fan to save energy, this food and beverage facility used the additional air to positively pressurize more areas of their building to improve food safety”. 

Camfil Air filtration expert Mark Davidson

The company could have saved money by turning down the VFD drive. But in this case, airflow was more valuable than the energy savings. This might be advantageous in food and beverage or semiconductor production, where the most crucial consideration is product quality or safety achieved with maximum airflow that eliminates contamination.

Testing filters under the same conditions

Testing two sets of filters under the same conditions during a survey is essential when comparing performance. For example, suppose two units are rated at 20,000 CFM, but one is located near an exhaust vent. In that case, the unit near the exhaust vent will see more particulate than the other because air is being exhausted from inside the plant, where there is more contamination or moisture. Even if the airflow rate coming into the unit is the same, the dirt it sees is different. It needs to be equivalent airflow to make it an adequate comparison.

Generally speaking, the more media available on a filter along with proper pleat design, the more dirt it can hold. That’s why dirt-holding capacity is essential. If you look at two filters, they may look similar. However, the 30/30 Dual 9 has a service life of 9 to 12 months, while the AP III has a standard service life of three months. That is why it is essential to look at the media area. 

Final filters in a V-bank-style configuration hold much more dirt in a standard application than standard rigid-style box filters. While both filters may take up the same area, 24″ x 24″ x 12″ deep, the V-bank may have four times the media area because the pleats are mini-pleats. In more common pleated style panel filters, the pleats themselves can be configured in a  V  style versus a  U-shape style. Again, they take up the same area, 24″ x 24″ x2″, for example, but the one that holds the most dirt, the U-shaped filter, has a more open and effective media area. It’s not just the depth but also the pleat design that holds more dirt. Insert images of the two styles here

a MERV 9-A air filter's u-shaped or w-shaped pleat is compared to a traditional v-pleat style. The image shows how more particles are collected with the 30/30 Dual 9 air filter

If you pull a dirty, pleated filter using V-style pleats out of the frame, you’ll often see clean areas where pleats were touching and particles could not enter for capture.  But on a U-shaped filter, the entire surface area is being used. The 30/30  Dual 9 has about the same surface area as the best competitor’s air filter but holds a lot more dirt because of the U-shape design along with the 2 stage proprietary media that allows it to utilize the entire surface area. 

Finally, the bag and box filters may take up the same area, but the media’s depth and style allows the bag filter to hold more dirt. When comparing filters, it’s crucial to consider two-dimensional and three-dimensional areas.

It’s important to remember that air filters may have hidden costs. Camfil uses its  LCC software to determine and model all competitive air filters, optimizing them in the process. 

Camfil provides air filtration solutions for various industries, including healthcare, commercial buildings, and manufacturing.

To get a complimentary IAQ and air filtration site survey, please use this contact form.

About Camfil Canada Clean Air Solutions

For more than 60 years, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment.Read more about Camfil Canada


Media Contact:

Phillip Ilijevski

Camfil Canada Inc.

T: 437-929-1161

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