Air Filtration vs. Energy Use/Cost Explained by Complete Mechanical HVAC

With winter right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at your heating costs.  Seattle area energy has increased consistently over the last few years.  Running your furnace and heating your home is a necessity and if you measure your heating costs properly, there are many ways to save money on heating your home and ways to reduce your carbon footprint.  From Furnace Repair & Service to installing new more energy efficient systems.

As energy costs increase and air quality decreases, filtration for Seattle  HVAC systems becomes more complicated. Many homeowners consider just the quality of the filtered air, discounting the filter’s affect on energy consumption. Complete Mechanical can perform an analysis of your HVAC filtration to assure that Seattle homeowners are using the most cost effective air purification option.

Evolution of HVAC Filtration

Originally developed to protect system components, HVAC filters are now also used to increase the air quality of the conditioned space(s). Many times a filter is chosen according to its cost, with no consideration for its effectiveness or affect on efficiency. In reality, the filter directly affects the cost to operate an HVAC system more than the cost of the filter itself. Depending on the filter and the HVAC system, the cost to operate the system can exceed the cost of the filter by as much as 10 times!

How HVAC Filtration Works

It is essential to understand how the filtration system words to determine the best balance between air quality and efficient operation. The filter acts to remove dirt, dust and other particulates from the air before entering the HVAC system. As the filter, even a brand new one, increases the resistance to air flow. This resistance requires the system’s fan to work harder to supply the same amount of air:

Filter = resistance increase = increased energy use = decreased efficiency

Seems simple, right? Well, not really! Higher quality air filters do filter outdoor pollution, however, they not only cost more initially. Additionally, these filters generally have a tighter filtration that offers even more resistance to the airflow. The real issue is how effective an air filter is regarding particulate removal.

Replacing filters on a regular basis is essential to maintain adequate airflow. Complete Mechanical IAQ experts recommend inspecting the air filter at least once a month, replacing (cleaning) as indicated. A dirty filter decreases airflow, which in turn increase operating costs.

Balancing IAQ and Efficiency

Choosing a filtration system that maintains the quality of a building’s air, while allowing for efficient operation of the HVAC system can be difficult. Allowing the IAQ/HVAC experts in the Seattle area to complete a thorough inspection of your current system can help you make the best decision for your application. With so many options available, understanding your system is critical to making that decision.

As efficient operation is measured against the cost to provide improved IAQ, the market for various filtration devices has grown. With several types of filtration available, a full assessment by Complete Mechanical’s technicians can help decide which is best for you:

  • Standard filter – uses fibers to trap particulates (disposable and reusable)
  • Electrostatic filter – uses an electric charge to trap and hold particulates
  • Container filter – uses media in a container (reusable or disposable) to trap particulates
  • Ultraviolet filter – uses UV to trap bacteria, fungus, etc. from air
  • Separate filterindependent of HVAC unit to trap particulates before the air enters the system

Before deciding which filtration system best suits your needs, it is strongly advised that you first locate the source of pollution. For example, if there is a poorly sealed window, chances are that pollutants from outside are easily migrating to the indoor conditioned space. For every case that can be resolved to eliminate excessive air infiltration, take the time to perform repairs before making a true IAQ survey.