Protecting indoor air quality is a top priority for many commercial building owners who understand the implications of allergens and other airborne contaminants. Buildings with poorly maintained filters have a variety of allergens in the air, such as dirt, dust, mold spores, bacteria, fibers, hair and various microorganisms. When these contaminants buildup, they can contribute to allergies and respiratory illnesses. While there is no way to completely prevent contaminants from entering your building, building owners can help filter them out of the air with the right HVAC air filter. Today, there are two main types of air filters you can choose from: an electronic air cleaner or mechanical air filter.
How Commercial HVAC Air Filters Work
Air filters are essentially flat sheets constructed of pleated paper, spun fiberglass or cloth. They are generally secured in a cardboard frame and are designed to be discarded after use. When you remove an air filter after several weeks or months of use, you can visibly see the dirt, dust and other debris trapped in the pleats.
How these contaminants become trapped is fairly simple. When air is circulated back through the HVAC system, it passes through the filter which leaves behind all of the pollutants that were in the air. The air is then cooled and redistributed back into the occupied space cleaner than it was when it went into the system.
Benefits of Mechanical Air Filters
Mechanical air filters typically use a mesh of material to trap particles that pass through them. What makes mechanical air filters so effective is that they both prevent particles from passing through while also maintaining a surface in which fibers are attracted. Mechanical air filters can be found in many commercial buildings, as well as residential homes.
There are countless benefits to using mechanical air filters in buildings. First, they are highly versatile and able to trap a range of pollutants, such as pollens, smoke and airborne allergies. They can also be found in several varieties, including natural fiber filters, man-made filters and HEPA air filters. Mechanical air filters are easy to use and can often be swapped out in just a few minutes. Mechanical air filters can be highly effective if replaced on a regular basis.
Benefits of Electronic Air Cleaners
Despite common belief, electronic air cleaners are not air filters, and operate very differently. They are a type of electronic device that creates an electric field. When particles from the air pass through the device, they are ionized, which means they are drawn to a pair of plates located on the air cleaner which traps the pollutants. Unlike mechanical air filters, an electronic air cleaner requires an external power source to operate. However, they are often more efficient and can trap contaminants that are too small for a mechanical air filter to catch.
Electronic air cleaners are more expensive than mechanical air filters but many commercial building owners find the investment more efficient in the long-term. This is especially true in buildings where there are individuals with certain sensitivities or if you run a pet business which increases the number of pollutants in the air.
Which Is Right for Your Commercial Building?
Both electronic air cleaners and mechanical air filters offer their own unique set of benefits. When making your decision, consider what type of particles you are looking to eliminate. If you need to filter out a wider range of particles, then an electronic air cleaner may be the better option for you. However, if you are on a tight budget and do not want to invest in an electronic air cleaner and can reliably perform filter changes, then a mechanical air filter may be a more suitable choice.
While there is no right or wrong answer, it is a good idea to speak with a certified HVAC company before making your decision. An experienced HVAC professional can explain the differences between the two types of air cleaners and why your business may be better suited for one or the other.
Improve Your Air Quality with Cool Works
Mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners not only improve the air in a building, but can also help ward off certain respiratory illnesses in your employees and customers. When deciding between an electronic air cleaner and mechanical air filter for your commercial building, take all factors into consideration. Both options can do a great job of removing dirt, dust and debris from the air, but have some differences that you should think about to ensure that you are satisfied with your choice in the long-term. For more information to help choose an option for your business, reach out to the HVAC experts at Cool Works Co.