Every day HVAC technicians help keep people comfortable by installing and servicing HVAC systems. HVAC technicians also play an integral role in improving the quality of indoor air by regularly changing the air filters designed to trap microbial contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and viruses along with allergens that can induce mild to serious health effects. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was wise to assume these air filters contain living pathogens since the highest-efficiency rated types do not actively kill organisms.
The current pandemic has raised awareness and questions centered around best practices to follow for air filter replacement. There are a number of recommendations that can be taken to help keep technicians safe while preventing the spread of dangerous airborne pathogens. Here are some recommended steps to replace an air filter:
To maintain healthy breathable indoor air, standard HVAC air filters should be changed at least every three months, or at the minimum recommendation of the air handler manufacturer. In some situations, the filter may need to be changed more frequently. Changing an air filter on a regular maintenance schedule also keeps HVAC equipment in top working condition, prevents breakdowns, reduces energy consumption, and limits expensive repairs.
There are HVAC air filters that are specifically made to capture smaller particles like viruses. When considering a filter upgrade for better particle capture, Parker suggests a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 13 to 16. High-efficiency filters can affect the performance of an HVAC system so it’s best to check with a professional contractor or the system manufacturer when upgrading a filter.
This post was contributed by the HVAC Filtration Team.