If you’re worried that your commercial building’s air quality isn’t up to par, here’s a step-by-step guide for upgrading your HVAC air filtration system, guaranteeing you cleaner, healthier air all year round.
The Difference Between Filtration and HVAC Air Purification Systems
HVAC filtration and purification systems work together to keep your space free from dust, germs, and other contaminants. Filtration acts as the first line of defense, catching particles and preventing them from being recirculated, while HVAC air purification systems take it a step further by killing tiny contaminants that bypass the filtration system. While older commercial HVAC systems might only have one of these capabilities, newer models are equipped with filtration and purification components.
Steps for Upgrading Your Building’s Air Filtration System
If you own a building or manage a facility, it’s crucial to ensure that your building’s air filtration system is up to par. Luckily, upgrading isn’t a daunting task with these simple steps:
Step 1: Assess Your Current HVAC Air Filtration System
First, take a moment to evaluate your current filtration equipment and maintenance programs. Upgrading to higher efficiency filters may be a great option, but consider revising your protocols and procedures beforehand. By making some simple changes, you may be able to achieve your goals without breaking the bank. Try changing control options for longer fan run times when the space is occupied, including pre- and post-purge air flushes and filtration fan runs. Remember, proper filtration is an ancillary function of most modern HVAC systems, so it’s essential to optimize what you already have before considering costly upgrades.
Step 2: Evaluate the Upgrade Process
Higher efficiency filters may seem like the way to go, but they can also cause more restriction in airflow, which can lead to damage to your air handling equipment and decrease heating and cooling performance. That’s why it’s important to carefully evaluate the upgrade before making any changes. To start, gather as much information as possible about your existing equipment and its specifications. Look for Test Adjust Balancing (TAB) records and any reports from previous adjustments to help determine the capacity of your equipment and serve as a baseline for future improvements. Engaging a qualified TAB technician to check and balance the system will ensure compatibility with the new upgrades.
Step 3: Consult With Equipment Manufacturers
Next, check with equipment manufacturers and I&O manuals to make sure your fan motor can handle the extra electrical load of an upgrade. There are affordable ways to make modifications and increase fan speeds to overcome static pressures, and an HVAC professional can lead you in the right direction. Another option to consider is altering or replacing filter racks to accept lower pressure drop formats. Upgrading to a deeper pleated filter can give you a higher MERV without sacrificing airflow. If your current 2-inch filter rack is too restrictive, it’s easy to upgrade to a 4- or 6-inch filter. Consulting with an air filter specialist or commercial filter manufacturer allows you to explore all available options. For larger buildings or multiple projects, it may also be helpful to hire a mechanical engineering consultant to evaluate your existing equipment and provide practical solutions.
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Step 4: Consider an HVAC With an Air Purification System
Selecting an upgrade that includes an HVAC air purification system is a great way to improve your building’s air quality. While air filtration can reduce pathogen concentration and dwell time, it won’t kill pathogens on its own. Air purification units are available in various formats and designed to kill tiny contaminants that bypass the filtration system. Most of these systems use high-quality air filters and integral fans, which may cause some operating noise. However, top-notch models built for office buildings and other commercial facilities are equipped with acoustic linings, quiet ECM fans, and sophisticated controls. Some purification units also offer additional features like UV-C light disinfection and bi-polar ionization chambers, which can further enhance the effectiveness of your HEPA filter.
Step 5: Design Your System From Scratch
By consulting with a team of experts including mechanical engineers, IAQ professionals, filtration specialists, and equipment manufacturers, you can design your equipment from the ground up with bigger filter racks, prefilters, and even duct redesign for better recirculation. This proactive approach improves indoor air quality and saves you money in the long run.
Step 6: Schedule Your HVAC Upgrades And Repairs
Finally, it’s time to schedule your HVAC upgrades and any necessary repairs. Keep in mind that if your facility is occupied daily, it’s important to schedule the work during times that won’t disrupt your workflow. You may want to consider temporarily relocating occupants to areas with functioning environmental systems within the building. That way, they can continue their daily activities without any discomfort. You should also remember that some upgrades might cause an increase in airborne pollutants due to construction. However, you can use supplemental IAQ controls, like industrial fans and HEPA-equipped portable air purifiers, to help ensure clean air throughout the process.
Are you ready to take your HVAC system to the next level? At AirLogix, we specialize in commercial HVAC installations and offer a wide range of services, including chillers, cooling towers, and remote monitoring. Our team of experienced professionals work hard to make sure your project stays on track and your building runs at its best. Plus, we provide clear records with detailed information so you can easily maintain your system in the future. With over 30 years of experience, AirLogix guarantees you get top-notch equipment and industry-leading experts when you rely on your HVAC services. Contact us today to get started on your upgrade journey.