Air filter

31Jul 2017

 

healthy schools for healthy future

The quality of indoor air and cleanliness of frequently touched surfaces are critical issues for all educational facilities, from the smallest K-12 schools to the largest universities. Unsanitary conditions can lead to the spread of germs and illness among students and teachers. This has multiple negative effects on a school and can even cause costly major outbreaks.

Schools have a difficult mission dedicating the necessary resources to maintenance and janitorial functions at a time when public budgets are tight and competition is increasing in the academic world. However, investing in cleaner facilities can create substantial value for schools—without requiring a large increase in operational costs.

How Illness and Absenteeism Cost Texas Schools Millions

Funding for all public schools is affected by student attendance, although several different methods are used to determine the impact. Texas and many other states use average daily attendance as a factor in determining funding for local school districts. Under this formula, each student absence results in the loss of a certain amount of state funding.

Although health is only one of many reasons that students miss school, illness is a major contributor to absenteeism. Germs can spread rapidly in schools when the proper cleaning and disinfection practices are not followed. The cost of lost funding can add up just as rapidly.

Schools in the Central Texas region lose almost $100 million annually due to student absenteeism, according to an analysis of local data by the E3 Alliance. The group examined 35 school districts and 15 charter schools in Central Texas and found that the region’s 307,000 students accrued 2.4 million absences during a single school year—causing more than $91 million in lost funding at an average cost of $38 per student absence.

The Austin Independent School District, which lost $45 for each absence in the E3 analysis, saved about $2 million by increasing student attendance less than 1%. If the district achieved perfect attendance, its annual funding would increase by at least $50 million.

In the event of a major school-based disease outbreak, schools can incur significant additional costs for clean-up. A recent outbreak of norovirus caused hundreds of student absences at a single Texas elementary school, and at least nine schools in the state were closed for cleaning due to influenza outbreaks earlier in the year.

Closing schools for disinfection after an outbreak is far more disruptive and expensive than taking preventive measures to reduce the risk. For example, a 2015 norovirus outbreak that affected nearly 2,000 students and staff at 19 schools in Washoe County, Nevada resulted in approximately $180,000 in excess cleaning costs.

Cleaner Facilities Help Prevent the Spread of Illness

“Cleaning” doesn’t necessarily always mean the same thing as “disinfecting” or “sanitizing”—and the difference is significant when you’re talking about a classroom or cafeteria that is used hundreds or thousands of students every day. What we all think of as conventional cleaning methods—mopping the floors, washing surfaces with soap and water—are important, but they’re also very labor intensive and can leave germs behind.

Schools can take additional steps to prevent illness, such as implementing a surface disinfection system, without significantly increasing their operating costs. Without the right technology, most districts simply don’t have sufficient janitorial resources to disinfect all of the surfaces in their schools on a regular basis.

There also other smart preventive measures administrators can use to reduce the cost of keeping facilities cleaner. For example, proper air filtration is essential to preventing contaminants from spreading in schools.

The ​EPA offers tips, resources, and other “Tools for Schools” to improve indoor air quality. The agency recommends using filters with a MERV rating in the 8-13 range. The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends MERV 9 or higher as part of its Building Operation and Maintenance Guidelines (§297.5. of the Voluntary Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Government Buildings).

The National Air Filtration Association recommends that schools aim higher and use filters rated at least MERV 13—both to protect student health and to prevent costly HVAC maintenance issues. It’s also important to note that a filter’s MERV rating is only one factor that affects its efficiency. Filters are only fully effective when they are the right quantity and size, and when they are properly installed and sealed to prevent air bypass.

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Joe W. Fly Co. uses a two-pronged approach to supporting healthy schools: improving indoor air quality with filtration systems and providing electrostatic surface disinfection targeting critical “touch points” such as desks, doors, and tables.

The experts at Joe W. Fly Co. frequently recommend improvements that increase filtration efficiency while saving labor and material costs. Our frame and media system is highly efficient for schools’ maintenance or janitorial teams, and helps guard against dangerous mold growth. Mold thrives in dark, damp conditions whenever it has a food source—which makes disposable filters with cardboard frames highly vulnerable.

Our galvanized steel frames and completely synthetic filters are hydrophobic and antimicrobial—making it extremely difficult for mold to grow. We also offer just-in-time delivery of pre-cut filter media to minimize the amount of labor related to changing out air filters in schools.

Learn how Joe W. Fly Co. can help keep air and surfaces clean in your school.

30May 2017

It’s often difficult for building engineers to identify signs of energy waste within their HVAC system. A lack of time or expertise can prevent them from properly examining their units and finding opportunities to save. This article and video explain how engineers can tell if they are using the wrong size air filter or have the filter improperly installed—and how these factors can cause energy costs to soar. We’ll also discuss common workarounds and the value of having input from air filtration experts.

Joe W. Fly Co. CEO Joe Fly Jr. explains some of the warning signs that can indicate energy is being wasted in your HVAC system.

Common Issues With Filter Sizing, Installation, and Maintenance

The most common issue that causes energy waste is when filters are either the wrong size or not installed tightly. In either case, the issue will lead to air bypass in your HVAC system. Over time, unfiltered air in the system causes evaporator coils to become dirty—which reduces filter efficiency, leaves equipment unprotected, increase the risk of breakdown, and can lead to costly repairs. Other common problems include facilities using the wrong type of filters, not replacing filters that have gotten wet, moldy, or blown through, misplacing clips that hold filters in place, or not repairing broken access doors.

Air filtration

 

Recommendations: Identifying and Fixing Air Filter Issues

If you want to get a better idea of what issues are affecting your HVAC system, the first things you should examine are the sizing and installation of your air filters. Specifically:

  1. Make sure there are no gaps allowing air bypass between filters or at the end of filter tracks
  2. Check for “bowing” or other signs that filters are becoming worn out and need to be changed
  3. Dirty evaporator coils are a sure sign that some part of the filter system is not installed correctly

Air bypass between and around the filters.  Bypass could be with the actual filters or with the holding frames/track that the filters go in.  If there is a lot of dirt buildup in certain areas of the evaporator coil, that is usually a pretty good sign there is some bypass present

To ensure each filter is installed properly, you should make sure there is proper gasket with a positive seal and no bypass, and that clips are applied where needed to hold filters steady.  If you or your staff are unsure of how to do this, having a NAFA Certified Technician take a look can help.

Once you’ve identified any issues in your system, it’s time to fix the problems. This could involve:

  1. Getting the correct number and size of filters
  2. Installing a custom filter if needed to fill the track tightly and completely
  3. Adding gaskets or clips to frames or filters where needed to prevent air bypass

How Much Can You Save?

The impact of air filtration issues on energy use is directly related to the heat transfer efficiency of the unit. If the equipment is dirty, partially blocked off from air flow, otherwise obstructed, then the compressor will have to work harder to keep the air properly conditioned—resulting in unnecessary energy use that adds to your facility’s operating costs. When you consider a large building with many units, the cost can be significant. Protecting evaporator coils with proper filtration will also decrease or eliminate the need to clean those coils, which is a significant labor savings year after year.

Ready to learn more about managing your HVAC costs? Contact the filtration experts at Joe W. Fly Co. today.

 

 

27Apr 2017

Most buildings have opportunities for energy savings related to their HVAC system, regardless of size, age, or other factors. Even in brand-new buildings, there is typically something that can be optimized to produce energy savings.  

Two of the most common ways to save energy with air filters are:

  1. Protecting the coils for more efficient heat transfer—helping to keep the facility’s air clean and cool with the least amount of energy used
  2. Reducing overall air resistance to limit the amount of energy needed to power the fan and push air through the filter

Joe W. Fly Co. Austin Branch Manager Hunt Foster explains how air filters and HVAC fans affect energy use and costs.

Fan Efficiency: Constant Volume vs. Variable Frequency

Equipping your system with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) fan is one way to take advantage of the opportunity for savings. Unlike Constant Volume (CV) fans, a VFD can adjust air flow based on the current needs of the building.

Transitioning from a CV fan to a VFD can be an expensive project, so this should not be considered unless reducing energy costs is an urgent business issue or the organization has significant capital that it is committed to investing in building improvements.

Fortunately, there are many other ways for a company to save on air filtration costs. For example, one of the largest potential areas for improved energy costs with Constant Volume fans is related to the efficiency of the compressor.  

 

Air filtration

 

Optimizing Your Air Filters to Protect Equipment

The compressor typically uses more than 50% of all the energy consumed by an HVAC unit, so this is a very important component to consider when attempting to reduce costs.  Keeping the coils clean by protecting them with a properly-fitting filter can help save a lot of energy—and money—over the long term.

Defining the ideal filter for a facility can be a complicated process. The nature of the building, the activities performed by occupants, and government or industry regulations are all important factors.

However, the potential savings associated with identifying and installing the optimal filter can be substantial. When Joe W. Fly Co. technicians inspect customers’ units, they often find opportunities to recommend new products or services that can help increase the system’s efficiency.

Learn more about ways to find savings in your HVAC system.

 

 

24Mar 2017

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is critical for organizations of all kinds. IAQ is a compliance issue in industries such as healthcare and manufacturing, but it is also important for the health and safety of people in all facilities.

The air filters in a building’s HVAC system are one of the most important factors affecting IAQ. These filters are commonly chosen based on their Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV). While this is a useful metric, it is important for building engineers and maintenance teams to understand what this value really means, and how other factors affect filtration efficiency and overall air quality.

The Basics: What Is MERV and Why Is it Important?


Joe W. Fly Co. CEO, Joe Fly Jr., explains how MERV actually works in practice—and how other factors affect indoor air quality.

MERV is a common system used to classify different filters according to their ability to remove particles from indoor air. A filter’s MERV is calculated using tests defined by ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 52.2—“Method of Testing General Ventilation Air-Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size.”.

The key word to understand in MERV is “Minimum”—the standard tells the user what the filter’s efficiency is at its worst. The previous standard measured average efficiency, which provided a much less specific rating of a filter’s performance.

MERV ratings range from 1 to 16. In most commercial buildings, you’ll find filters with a MERV rating around 8. In critical application—for example, a hospital’s surgery center or a semiconductor plant—you’ll find MERVs closer to 14 or 15.

How Does a Filter’s MERV Value Affect a Building’s Air Quality?

In theory, the higher the MERV, the cleaner the air—but in practice, there are many other factors that affect IAQ. Using a filter with higher MERV should help improve the air quality in a building—but only if all of the filters are properly installed and sealed so there is no unfiltered air getting through. Air bypass can significantly reduce the effectiveness of your HVAC filters.

Are Two Filters with the Same MERV Always Equal?

Filters can differ in cost and efficiency even if they have the same MERV. Filters can have different pressure drops—affecting energy use. Dust-holding capacity is another important factor, as it affects how often the filter needs to be replaced.

It’s also important to understand that MERV is a range, so two different filters rated MERV 8 aren’t necessarily 100% equal in terms of filtration efficiency. One filter might be at the lower end of the MERV 8 range, closer to MERV 7, while another filter might be at the higher end of the range, closer to MERV 9.

Is There a Better Way to Evaluate Filter Efficiency?

The best way to understand the MERV of a filter is to look at an independent ASHRAE 52.2 test. Examining the complete result of the ASHRAE 52.2 test provides a more accurate picture of how effective a particular filter is. An independent test can be supplied from any manufacturer.

What Happens if You Mix and Match Different MERV Filters?

Because air takes the path of least resistance, more air will be forced through the filter with the lower MERV—reducing air quality toward the level of the “weakest MERV in the chain.” Using filters that don’t fit together properly also reduces IAQ, because unfiltered air will flow through the gaps.

How Do Gaps Between Filters and Frames Affect IAQ?

Air Quality is severely impacted by gaps in a filter bank. Air always takes the path of least resistance, so unfiltered air will flow through any gaps between filters and/or holding frames. Although the individual filters might be MERV 14, if you tested the entire filter bank, it could be performing as low as a MERV 8 because of air bypass.

How Can You Identify Efficiency Issues in Your System?

Because so many different factors affect IAQ and filter performance, it helps to have your equipment examined by air filtration experts. Joe W. Fly Co. provides free on-site system survey and evaluation, and turn-key filter installation services for organizations across all market sectors in Texas and surrounding state.

 

Air filtration

 

23Feb 2017

In most businesses, little thought is dedicated to how HVAC filters are packaged, organized, and stored. However, air filters affect thousands of dollars in operating expenses for many facilities—especially in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, education, and commercial offices.

Given the scope of the potential savings in labor, materials, and energy, every organization should consider optimizing their HVAC filters.

The Hidden Costs of Organizing and Storing HVAC Filters

Joe W. Fly Co. Dallas Branch Manager Will Denton explains how pre-sorted and labeled filters save time and money for facilities managers.

Companies typically have to buy filters in case quantities. If you need different sizes or efficiencies, it’s often necessary to buy entire cases of each type and have all of them shipped at once. Cases of filters are bulky, hard to store and carry—and they’re organized and labeled in whatever way is most convenient for the manufacturer or distributor, rather than according to the needs of the end user. Most filter manufacturers will not break case quantities or customize packaging or labels.

The way filters are packaged has a considerable impact on the amount of time and labor required for sorting and installation. It takes time to dig through pallets and cases of filters, figure out where things go, and organize leftover products for storage. All of the time and space dedicated to cases of filters adds cost.

The Benefits of Conveniently Packaged and Labeled Filters

When filters are packaged economically, workers can carry and replace more filters in a single trip—resulting in less time spent installing filters and lower labor costs. Also, less warehouse space needs to be used to store filters. A simple change in the way air filters are packaged prior to delivery can save time and money—making more resources available for your core business activities that generate revenue.

Just-in-time filter delivery adds additional value by eliminating on-site storage requirements and long lead times for orders.

How Joe W. Fly Reduces Your Costs With Just-in-Time Delivery of Pre-Sorted Filters

Joe W. Fly Co. optimizes filter deliveries based on what works best for you—we’ll custom package your order by delivering the exact quantity of filters needed, pre-sorted by size and labelled by air handler, mechanical room, or location in the facility.  This saves time for your in-house maintenance crew because they can just pick up the filters and go install them. There’s no need to pull out spec sheets or consult old handwritten notes to figure out where to install filters.

We also provide scheduled just-in-time delivery services to completely eliminate the need for on-site filter storage. Joe W. Fly Co handles all of the required organizational tasks at our facility and then delivers the pre-sorted and labeled filters to you exactly when you need them.

Our experienced technicians can even inspect your HVAC system and recommend different products that can deliver additional savings on filter materials and energy costs. For example, we can measure the filter track and provide a custom-fit filter that will help prevent air bypass—protecting your equipment and potentially avoiding costly maintenance needs.

Joe W. Fly Co. brings three key values to every job:

  1. Air Filtration Expertise
  2. Best Products & Largest Inventory in Texas
  3. Commitment to Optimizing Your System’s Performance

Contact Joe W. Fly Co. to learn more about how we can help maximize the efficiency of your HVAC system—and manage all of the associated costs.

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