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Air Filtration: How to extend the life of filters, protect coils and minimise on site labour time.

ECEX Jan e news pic Providing effective air filtration on HVAC systems is an imperative practice for the health and wellbeing of a building's occupants. With strict air quality guidelines and regulations firmly in place, along with increasingly restrictive budgetary constraints, facilities managers and outsourced maintenance companies are frequently tasked with optimising filtration and maintenance efficiency at their respective sites. Is it possible to do so whilst at the same time minimising labour and filter replacement costs?

Generally speaking, building managers recognise the inevitable costs associated with supplying clean air to their premises. Air handling units (AHUs) are often equipped with one or more banks of pre-filters in order to capture airborne debris passing through. During spring, summer and autumn when airborne debris is at its highest levels, pre-filters should be changed quarterly to ensure optimum filtration efficiency. However, when maintenance is deferred during these seasons, debris can easily face-load the filters, causing an increase in static pressure that can result in the collapse of the filters. This in turn permits unfiltered air to reach the expensive final filters (e.g. Bag & HEPA filters), leading to their premature replacement. If no form of final filtration is used, the air bypassing the pre-filters would simply deliver airborne debris inside the building.

When considering AHU system performance, it is important to remember that as filter loads increase, airflow resistance also rises. This increased air resistance requires fan motors to run at an increased duty in order to deliver airflow within the tolerable limits of the equipment and, the greater the duty load of the fan motor, the greater the energy consumption and ultimately, the greater the cost of running the equipment.

In a struggling economy, more and more businesses are looking to cut-back on the non-revenue generating functions of the business and all too often it is the facilities and maintenance department that suffers. For companies offering outsourced maintenance services, labour forces have also been reduced to allow for maximum profitability. As a consequence, the maintenance engineer's time has become a limited, but highly valuable asset on site and, with fewer maintenance staff managing the same HVAC assets, replacing filters and cleaning coils utilises valuable engineering time that could be better used elsewhere across the facility. In essence, if the number of filter changes and labour time could be reduced, filter and labour cost would also fall.

The fundamental question here is a simple one: How can you resolve these issues efficiently and cost effectively? The key to maximising efficiency is reducing airborne debris from entering the air intake system in the first place. If the strain on pre-filters can be reduced then they will last longer, requiring fewer changes. If they last longer, fewer filter purchases will be required per annum, saving in both labour time and filter cost.
Air Intake Screens were designed for just that purpose.

Made from vinyl coated polyester with a non-stick surface, Air Intake Screens are highly durable and specifically designed for high volume/high velocity airflow applications. Air Intake Screens are not constructed of window, insect or pet screen material, or any other commercially available mesh screens that are restrictive to the airflow requirements of HVAC systems, which can cause compressor and fan motor failure. Fixed to the external intakes on AHUs and other mechanical systems (intake louvres, chillers, condensers and cooling towers, etc.), Air Intake Screens are fixed with self-tapping screws and quick-release fasteners allowing for easy removal as needed. They can be easily cleaned with a hose or broom and even the rain will have a cleansing effect if fan motors areswitched off during inclement weather. Air Intake Screens are highly engineered for durability, endowing them with a service life of up to 15 years (depending on the option you choose). Furthermore, Air Intake Screens are highly resistant to environmental degradation such as corrosion or damage from UV rays, further prolonging their service life. When used on AHUs they can increase the life of internal filters by up to 60%, while delivering a measurable labour time and filter cost savings to your facility.

Air intake screens are easy to clean and maintain with very little impact on airflow. This means that fan motors can run more efficiently and coils remain unsoiled for longer, which of course reduces maintenance costs. Internal filters last longer and are changed less frequently and maintenance time is minimal. When the cost of the Air Intake Screens is considered over the service life of the product, the annual cost is significantly lower than that of the maintenance and energy involved in using traditional maintenance methods. Therefore, the investment in Air Intake Screens becomes not only an attractive proposition, but an obvious one.

Daniel Betts is Marketing Manager for ECEX, a multi-specialist service and solutions company in the FM sector. For more information on Air Intake Screens call 01635 244 100, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to their dedicated  .

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Air Solution Company
PO Box 1727 West Chester, OH 45071-1727 Main Contact: Randy Simmons
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