Making the Most Out of Your High-MERV Filter
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Good air quality is an essential aspect of healthy living nowadays. Many homes are finding ways to make sure that they have good indoor airflow. Office spaces and buildings invest in state-of-the-art filter equipment. Utilizing a good HVAC system in buildings provides good working conditions and a living environment. 

Filtration is an essential element for a sound HVAC system. The use of air filters is crucial to try and collect particles in the air. Dust allergens and microorganisms are some of the particles that pollute an indoor space. The better the filtering capacity of your air filters, the more efficient it is in removing unwanted air particles. 

What is a High-MERV Filter?

The filter MERV number is the rating corresponding to its filtering capacity. The minimum efficiency reporting value measures how effective the filters in removing air particles. The higher the MERV review rating, the more influential the filter is in trapping small particles. 

With a MERV rating of 16 or below filters, can be used in these kinds of spaces:

  • residential
  • commercial
  • hospitals

On the other hand, a MERV rating of 17 to 20 filters are typically applicable in:

  • operating rooms (conduct of surgical procedures)
  • pharmaceutical cleanrooms
  • microbiology laboratories

Several studies suggest that particle filtration in the air provides a healthy living. It is only logical that the more particles present in the air, the greater the health risks. According to studies reviewed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), efficient filtration can help in:

  • lessening occurrence of allergy and asthma symptoms
  • limit the presence of infectious airborne particles that can cause contagious disease
  • lowering the concentration of pollution and reduces exposure to health risks

Consequences of High-MERV Filters

Despite the many benefits of using high-MERV filters, there are also downsides to it. It is important to note some of these consequences before actually investing in a high-MERV filter. This is not to expose the disadvantages of a high-MERV filter. But knowing these downsides will give you a good idea of the kind of filter requirement applicable for you. This can also negate any lost expectations after that.

1. Reduce airflow

The case for high-MERV filters is that it constitutes filter materials that block smaller particles. The higher the capacity of filters to block small particles, the higher its resistance becomes. 

Because air encounters resistance, it wouldn’t flow much. If the filter is not well-maintained, the more particles it catches adds to its resistance factor. When resistance builds up, airflow is reduced.

2. High Energy Consumption

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The primary tendency when there is no airflow is to blow a lot more air into space. The filter air handler can only blow air to a certain pressure extent. It becomes a problem when it reaches higher pressure. Using a lot of air through the filter will compromise the rest of your air filter. You need an equal amount of air to circle the rest of the system. When the pressure goes up, the blower will consume more energy.

3. Less Comfort

When there is no airflow, it may not be sufficient to ventilate the rest of the space. This is especially problematic in changing weather. Extra heating or cooling inside the house may not suffice. So instead of having a comfortable space, it becomes discomfort instead. 

4. Potential HVAC Damage

We counter low airflow by utilizing a lower temperature from the air-conditioners. However, with the sudden change of weather comes a different temperature requirement. The irregular use of air-conditioner can coil the system. It may freeze up in no time. This can lead to damaging the compressor. 

This is also equally true with the use of a furnace. The furnace will compensate for whatever lacking airflow in the space. With irregular use, it will end up cracking. The crack can be a source of carbon monoxide distribution. This may be the worst-case scenario, but it is always good to avoid it.

Pros of High-MERV Filter

The most apparent advantage in using a high-MERV filter is the assurance of cleaner air. The pro comes from the actual consequence of low airflow. However, this positive outcome can be particular to humid climates only. The low airflow can increase the dehumidifying activity of the air-conditioner. This is because a lower amount of air plus high temperature can easily remove moisture. 

Fulfilling Filter Needs

It is vital to take note of the effects of using high-MERV filters on HVAC systems. Indicators such as pressure drop and system performance are of significant value. While it may take a long time for airflow to lower, it is always best to recognize the potential risks. As systems are interconnected, low airflow can be detrimental to the rest of the functioning parts. It is evident that when there is insufficient airflow, exhaustion of energy is rapid. This is because the HVAC system works in compensating the current condition to achieve the ideal one. 

There are also simple steps in making the most out of your air filters. Like the technological supplement of monitoring sensors, some regular cleaning activities can also help. Because the primary ingredient in filter resistance is dust and air particles, it is advisable to clean your living spaces regularly. There are daily activities that can help get rid of air contaminants:

  1. Periodically change your drapes and beddings
  2. Scheduled vacuuming of facilities to reduce dust
  3. Check, clean, and change filter when necessary
  4. Use air purifiers and dehumidifiers

Air Quality Solution

The main point of using a high-MERV filter is to achieve good air quality. The filter is the primary tool, so it is vital to ensure it is running in good condition. More than that, the actual air quality inspection is critical. 

There are many ways to monitor your HVAC system. Using some monitoring devices can supplement the capacities of a high-MERV filter. These monitoring devices can also negate any occurrence of risks and problems with the air conditioner. 

Wireless Tunnel™ Air Quality Sensor

1. Air Quality Monitoring Sensors

High-MERV filters can strain air particles. That function ends there. In no way can it detect air contaminants that induce foul odors. It also cannot check on hazardous gases. To compensate for this limitation, air quality monitoring sensors can be deployed to check for air contaminants. They are capable of detecting smoke, pollen, and dust. 

The AKCP wireless air quality sensor has the combined capacity of checking air particles, metal oxide gasses, temperature, and humidity in a single sensor. The sensor logs the volatile organic compound (VOC) index relative to the typical gas composition over the past 24 hours. So a high VOC index means a higher concentration of metal oxide gasses. AKCP air quality sensors can also measure the mass concentration of particles. The air particles inside are especially helpful in air quality assessment, specifically in workplaces. 

2. HVAC Maintenance Monitoring

The efficiency of air handling units is directly proportional to their energy use. These units are responsible for controlling temperature, humidity, and pressure. This is why air handling unit monitoring is very vital. Considering the downside of having low airflow from utilizing high-MERV filters, it can potentially cause damage to the rest of the HVAC system. The harmful effects are most significant in energy use and pressure. 

Wireless Differential Air Pressure

Maintenance monitoring can diagnose system faults such as:

  • compressor overheating
  • over and under pressure
  • dirty air filters

Monitoring can check the wear and tear of the motor systems. It can also improve temperature control for your HVAC systems. Through such maintenance monitoring activity, we can track electrical energy consumption. And when energy is saved, there is a lower operating cost.

3. Remote Monitoring

Wireless Sensor Gateways

Integrating the capacities of wireless sensors to that of well-outlined maintenance monitoring can provide better remote monitoring solutions. An HVAC technician can check your quality indicators through a user interface. Reports can be made from the data gathered by sensors on the ground. These reports can be handy in checking for faults in the system. 

The AKCPro Server is an example of a central monitoring and management software. The AKCP sensors deployed in the HVAC parts can communicate with Wireless Tunnel Gateway (WTG) which sends the data to the server. The server can then be accessed to gain granular visibility of your HVAC system. The AKCPro Server has the following capacities:

  • integrated monitoring of all devices
  • environmental monitoring, specifically temperature and airflow
  • security monitoring capable of raising alarms
  • power monitoring calculating energy consumption
  • access control for easy audit and assessments
  • video monitoring from the camera feed synchronize to the server

Conclusion

In the end, we all want to breathe clean air. Now that we know the consequences of using high-MERV filters, let us not discount its primary benefit of air cleaning. A comprehensive HVAC maintenance monitoring can go a long way. They may seem to be an additional expense initially. But with the extensive monitoring advantages they can deliver, it is a valuable inclusion to living healthy lives and secure indoor spaces. 

Reference Links:

https://www.grainger.com/know-how/equipment-information/kh-what-is-merv-rating-air-filter-rating-chart#:~:text=An%20air%20filter’s%20minimum%20efficiency,filters%20with%20lower%20MERV%20ratings.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/nav/issues/page/4/id/667

https://www.morhvac.com/blog/2020/february/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-high-efficiency-filter/#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20High%2DEfficiency,the%20minimum%20efficiency%20reporting%20value

https://www.energyvanguard.com/blog/unintended-consequences-high-merv-filters/

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