All buildings have some sort of HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) support system connected to their vents. HVAC systems help regulate the temperature in buildings, but they also bring a common misconception. So often, HVAC systems are believed to completely ‘filter’ the air, but when we take a closer look into the complete filtration cycle, that doesn’t necessarily happen. HVAC systems consist of Merv-rated filters, but they still lack the proper filtration, especially with the shortage of modern HVAC systems in the field.
The Merv filter is built into the HVAC system to help scrub the air from larger particulate matter, but it can only handle so much. If too much particulate matter passes through the filtration system, it will make the HVAC work harder than it needs to. Buildings with poor ventilation will suffer more than ones with proper and adequate ventilation as it relies more on the HVAC system to move the air inside.
The graphic above explains how much particulate matter will pass through the HVAC system depending on the Merv filter rating. Even with the highest-rated Merv filter, particulate matter still passes through. Unfortunately, that is not enough protection or efficiency for optimal indoor air quality.
What can we do to supplement HVAC?
Portable air purification is the most suitable solution to supplement HVAC systems. HVAC systems move air through the vents while portable air purifiers remove dirty, stale air and produce clean, fresh air. Air purifiers also help create a higher exchange rate of air. The higher the air exchange rate, the faster the air is filtered. However, the HVAC system will continue to pass through dirty, stale air with particulate matter suspended in the air without sufficient air purification. Without the supplemental support of portable air purification, the frequency of air changes you would receive would remain low.
What are air changes per hour, and why are they important?
An air change is a measurement of how many times a volume of air within a space is exchanged. The more air changes per hour, the cleaner the air will become. We need to take the initiative to educate ourselves on the importance of clean indoor air as most of our time is spent inside. Clean indoor air is vital to our health and should be at the forefront of our concerns. Understanding that HVAC systems are not effectively cleaning the air on their own and the addition of supplemental, portable air purification is essential, we can make the necessary changes to achieve good indoor air quality.