Your building requires safety checks prior to reopening after a period of downtime. To aid you in your preparation, we compiled a list of steps that you can follow to feel confident in the cleanliness of your building.
- Clean and sterilize all floors, counters, and even the air according to suggestions from the CDC’s COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Employers.
- Prior to running your HVAC system at normal capacity again, replace existing air filters with clean filters.
- Safety First – Before replacing dirty air filters, first be sure to wear gloves, a mask, and safety glasses. As you slowly remove the current air filters, take care not to dislodge any of the dust and debris, which can otherwise re-enter the airstream inside your building.
- Bag Disposal – Now that you have removed the dirty air filters, place them into bags and seal these bags as further protection against the collected dust and particles harming people who are exposed to them.
- Clean Air Filters Installation – Place clean air filters inside the HVAC unit with the air flow arrow pointing toward the blower motor. You will find this air flow arrow on the frame of your air filter.
- View these additional tips & suggestions on filtration and disinfection of your HVAC system from ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers).
- Before reopening your business, ramp up your HVAC system to normal levels, allowing air to circulate for a couple of hours before people enter the building.
Importance of Air Filtration
As noted above, healthy buildings experts suggest replacing current air filters as part of this preparation process. In many cases, they urge businesses to upgrade their filter efficiency to capture even more small particles, helping to keep customers and employees safe from airborne particles.
Tiny virus particles generally piggyback on comparatively larger dust particles or droplets as they travel through a building. In general, virus particles tend to hitch a ride on particles and droplets in the size range of 0.3 to 1.0 microns. Fortunately, air filters with a rating of MERV 16 or higher capture a minimum of 95% of airborne particles in this size range.
The Case for Upgrading
Even better, a combination of high-efficiency air filters captures nearly all of the particles in this size range, eliminating typical virus-carrying particles from airstreams inside buildings. For example, a MERV 11 prefilter in conjunction with a MERV 16 secondary filter removes 98.66% of particles in the 0.3-1.0 micron size range in one pass. By contrast, if you rely on lower efficiency filters such as a MERV 8 prefilter with a MERV 14 secondary filter, it would take three passes through the filters to remove the same percentage of particles.
Particle Efficiency vs. Energy Efficiency
Generally you can expect that an upgrade in particle efficiency will cause a decrease in energy efficiency. Besides translating to a higher energy bill, you could also be faced with additional wear and tear on your HVAC equipment. However, thanks to innovative filter design and media options, you can usually find a way to upgrade your particle efficiency without breaking the bank or causing undue damage to your HVAC equipment.
We’re Here to Help
AAF Flanders offers a suite of air filtration tools, such as TCO Diagnostic® and Sensor360®, to identify a solution that is tailored to your needs and circumstances. Our process starts with a complimentary facility audit, which provides you with:
- Professional analysis
- Benchmark data
- Ideas for improvement
- Standardized list of air filters by air handler unit
Contact a representative in your area to request a FREE air filtration audit, so you can get started on a custom air filtration upgrade.