When improving health is your
organization's mission, it would be a shame to let poor air
sneak in and ruin all of your hard work. Yet all too often poor
air filtration can let bacteria, dust and even mold spores into
spaces that require the highest levels of cleanliness.
There's a simple secret to
ensuring the best air filtration for your facility: always use
filters with a MERV-A rating that matches the required rating.
MERV — that's the Minimum
Efficiency Reporting Value — is the number that describes the
size of the particles captured by an air filter, or that
filter's "particle capture efficiency." Values range between 1
and 16, with a MERV 16 filter stopping the smallest particles,
such as bacteria. Here's the catch: the MERV defines the
filter's particle efficiency at the time of installation. Over
time, some filters begin to lose their particle efficiency as
they are loading with dust.
A MERV-A value describes the filter’s particle efficiency after
the filter gets dirty. It's this number that will best help
facility managers to ensure the filter works as efficiently on
the day you take it out as the day you installed it.
Some air filters have lower MERV-A values than MERV values,
indicating a loss in effectiveness - and subsequent indoor air
quality. In a hospital, that's bad news for patients, staff, and
Facility managers should select an air filter where the MERV-A
value meets or exceeds the MERV value. For example, a MERV 14
air filter should also have a MERV-A value of MERV-14A.
Once it is time to change your filter, keep in mind that buying
the cheapest available replacement doesn't guarantee cost
savings. Look at it this way: if you're spending $100 on
inexpensive filters, you might be hiking up your energy costs by
using media that will clog more quickly — causing your HVAC
system to work harder to circulate air — than a slightly more
Air filters are a good opportunity to capture low-hanging fruit
on the money tree. For every dollar a hospital spends on air
filters, it spends $7 on energy to push air through those
filters — yet most hospitals neglect to evaluate their fan
energy spend or filter life when considering air filters.
About the Contributor
Dave Blackwell is the healthcare segment manager for Camfil USA.
This post is part of an ongoing
series from the IFMA Health Care Institute. To download the full edition of
Tips, Tricks & Traps to Avoid,