Least Expensive And Best Proactive Way To Address Indoor Air Quality & Bio-terrorism…Fiberlene Filters, Inc.
Air filtration has been a permanent problem for air conditioning equipment since the first unit was invented. Keeping coils clean was the main problem until the indoor air quality (IAQ) Act was signed into law in 1990. This legislation was intended to address IAQ for human health but it also created a new “profit center” for attorneys and a legal exposure for building owners. Bio-terrorism makes IAQ a life and death concern. There is a pro-active way to address these issues. Improving IAQ is not possible without addressing the permanent problem of A/C filter performance and maintenance. Improving IAQ with A/C filters for human health addresses equipment concerns. IAQ for legal and bio-terrorism concerns require a new approach and additional technology.
Air Filters And Their Maintenance Issues:
Air conditioning filter maintenance is a “hidden” cost and permanent problem. Constant procurement, stocking, changing, size problems and waste disposal are just a few of the hidden costs. One Purchase Order costs an average school or company approximately $75.00 from start to finish. Building owners have been forced to address A/C filter maintenance by changing and throwing temporary A/C filter money in landfills. Building owners have continued this convenient and wasteful habit because of confusion about IAQ, filter performance, maintenance and other concerns.
Factors affecting A/C filter performance, service life and IAQ are almost to numerous to mention. They include but are not limited to geography, seasons, temperature, humidity, application, contaminate levels, building construction, ventilation, A/C equipment, air speed, air volume, air balance, filter media, filter price, filter sizes, filter efficiency, filter procurement, filter stocking, static electricity, maintenance and human complacency. Bio-terrorism will reduce human complacency.
The lack of uniformity in the A/C industry causes major A/C filter (IAQ) problems. A/C equipment manufacturers are unwilling to recommend any filter because of IAQ legal exposure. Six large companies and hundreds of smaller ones produce and sell countless styles and sizes of disposable A/C filters made with all types of media. Millions of people in the A/C industry profit from selling these filters. Many claims about A/C filter performance and service life cannot be supported in the real world of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential air filtration.
About ten major companies manufacture or assemble permanent or reusable style A/C filters. Until now, these permanent filters have been rejected because they were too expensive and hard to clean. Building owners and managers have been victims of confusion created by competition in a vast and fragmented A/C filter industry. This White Paper shows how A/C filter and IAQ confusion can be avoided.
Air filtration is a “Catch 22” problem. (The greater the airflow, the less dust is trapped and vice versa.) They all work about the same way. A/C systems cycle and circulate air across heating or cooling coils to condition it for human comfort before it is distributed through the facility by fans and air ducts.
Outside air may be introduced to meet occupancy levels and balance through cooling and heating exchangers in large systems. Otherwise the only fresh air is obtained from open doors or windows. Constant circulation of the same air and contaminates, not trapped by A/C filters, can make inside air worse than outside air.
The performance of an A/C filter and its maintenance schedule are critical for improving IAQ. Adverse IAQ lawsuit judgments require the plaintiff to prove negligence against building owner defendants. The maintenance schedule of most A/C filters is based on the manufacturer’s guess or when complacent employees get around to this “out of sight, out of mind” problem. A/C Contractors can’t justify having skilled labor technicians doing the unskilled job of changing A/C filters. Most A/C technicians consider changing filters to be degrading work. Filters are usually changed by in-house labor or sub-contracted to un-skilled labor companies. The “out of sight, out of mind” problem of A/C filter maintenance is often neglected. However, it is the source of an increasing IAQ negligence problem.
To prevent IAQ negligence and assure maximum performance, A/C filter maintenance schedules should be determined by the technical standard of pressure loss measured in water column inches by a simple differential pressure gauge. These easily installed gauges are inexpensive and simple to use. A proper schedule that addresses IAQ legal concerns cannot be determined any other way.
Air Filter Tests & Why They Are Inconclusive:
ASHRAE (The American Society Of Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers) has set up various tests to measure the performance of A/C filters. The tests have been updated but still do not measure static electricity caused by the friction of air moving across a filter. The term “electrostatic” is a buzzword and hyped in the A/C industry because good filters of any style or type are electrostatic to some degree. All filters trap particles by impingement (when dust particles hit the filter media). Ninety eight percent of all particles in the air are smaller than one micron (a human hair is 70 microns). To accommodate airflow speed and volume, ASHRAE standards call for 200 square inches and various thickness of filter for each ton of A/C. A standard size commercial/industrial A/C filters is 400 sq. in. and 2” thick. Not having enough square inches of A/C filter or proper thickness can reduce the effects of static electricity to capture microscopic size particles. Ceiling fan blades prove that static electricity is critical to air filtration because they use it to capture sub-one micron size particles. ASHRAE tests (MERV) are inconclusive because they do not measure how filters use static electricity to capture large and small micron size particles.
ASHARE uses Arizona road dust to test A/C filters. The obvious problem is that Arizona road dust is only found in Arizona. The most recent 52-2 ASHRAE test uses this dust to arrive at a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 6 rating for low to mid-range A/C filters, while Upper mid-range and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Applications) or sterile environment filters have a MERV up to 12+. Ninety five percent of all facilities can meet IAQ concerns with air filtered by mid to upper mid-range filters using a regular maintenance schedule based on the technical standard of pressure loss.
A Permanent Solution To A Permanent A/C Filter Problem:
There is a better way to address A/C filter maintenance and IAQ. It began with the statement and question. “If filters are effective, they get dirty, then what”? A perfectly balanced and truly permanent and reusable filter that gets extremely dirty was designed and invented by Fiberlene Filters. This company also designed and built a machine that cleans these filters easier and faster than changing temporary filters. Federal IAQ, waste reduction, energy saving rules and a financing plan makes them less expensive than throw away filters.
These permanent filters are made with virtually indestructible space age components. A U/L Class II listing assures they don’t give off toxic fumes or contribute to a fire. They are framed with a special pultruded reinforced fiberglass frame that slide in and out of metal racks with mimimal friction. This brings uniformity to the A/C filter industry by combining sizes and custom fitting all units to eliminate size problems. All units are measured and custom fit with permanent filters. If a filter rack has 3 - 24” x 24” x 1” or 2” thick filters they are combined into one 24” x 72” filter. This improves unit performance, extends unit life and shortens cleaning time. The filters have a warp & fill, statically enhanced, polypropylene and powder coated anodized wire cloth media arranged in a stage loading (hill and valley) snow fence design to achieve record air flow, loading capacity and ease of cleaning. The media still has measurable static charge even after buried in wet earth for six months. The filter “sandwich” is protected by galvanized steel mesh to diffuse and deflect air for even loading. ASHRAE tests prove these are sound mid-range filters, which trap dust particles down to .03 of one micron in size. Fiberlene filters were invented for a Cargill salt mine and most other applications are “easy duty” by comparison. This is the only filter providing a lifetime warranty in any application that will finance for 60 months or longer.
Effective Use Of A/C Filters:
A/C filters generally only clean the air in a facility for 2 to 4 hours a day when the thermostat is running the heating or cooling cycle. This method makes all A/C filters useless for the rest of the day. A disposable filter gets dirty when it loads anywhere from 35 to 100 grams of particles. Fiberlene permanent filters load 160 grams. They run longer before cleaning is required. They also trap more particles and maintenance schedules are more accurately determined by pressure loss rather than loading capacity or by simply guessing or just cleaning by convenience.
The low restriction and high loading capacity of these permanent filters allow the thermostat to efficiently run in the “on” position. This improves IAQ with constant filtration independent of the heating and cooling cycle. The A/C system is converted to an “air cleaner”. Most filters cannot recommend this because they would load too fast requiring excessive maintenance changes. The extra marginal utility cost is cheap compared to addressing IAQ with expensive temporary filters.
ASHRAE tests confirm these sound mid-range permanent filters have a MERV rating of 8, but this can be increased in two ways. All filters gain in electrostatic charge and particle trapping ability as they load or get dirty. Setting the thermostat to “ON” for constant filtration increases the MERV rating of these filters to 12+. Filter sprays can also increase the MERV rating of these permanent filters to improve normal IAQ concerns but, when used as directed, they are not necessary.
After performance, ease of cleaning was the inventor’s main design goal for these permanent filters. A newly invented machine uses vacuum, air pressure, soap, water and pressure gauge to clean these filters back to their record low initial pressure drop. Based on pressure drop, they are cleaned faster, easier and usually less often than changing temporary A/C filters. This machine fits in elevators and can be mounted on a trailer. It can recycle soap and water, but is custom built for each application. The cost is $5K to $10K and can be included under new federal financing rules for these permanent filters.
Performance Contracting & Bio-terrorism:
Since 1984, equipment and facility upgrades or replacement have been funded, without capital, through performance contracting by Fiberlene working with Siemens, who is the leader in this field. Performance contracts provide capital through new laws that have emerged as key delivery agents for sustainability for equipment and almost any type of aging facility. Performance contracts are secured by a customer’s equity in assets and the performance contracting company earns profit from energy and other savings. That permanent A/C filter project qualifies for funding under performance contracting laws, which meet fiduciary responsibility for building owners and managers.
Bio-terrorism can be addressed with ultra violet lighting, biocides and other technology. Liquid biocide sprays are normally used only on coils because moisture reduces the performance of disposable A/C filter media. Liquid biocide sprays increase the performance or MERV rating of these permanent filters to 12+. Since these permanent filters are unaffected by moisture, biocides can be used on them as well as the coils to double the opportunity to kill bacteria.
Cleaning Permanent A/C Filters Is More Economically Feasible:
The costs of addressing IAQ, by switching to upper mid range or HEPA filters, is cost prohibitive for most building owners. On the low side, the price for average size minimally effective upper mid-range and HEPA filters is from $8 to $1,000 each. Fifty percent of all utility costs are the direct result of heating and cooling and the higher-pressure drops related to the upper mid-range or HEPA filters increases utility costs dramatically.
As stated, 95% of all facilities can address IAQ concerns with mid to upper mid-range filtered air. Sterile environments do not improve human health. Like other body parts, the immune system must work to remain strong. Dr. Dean Adel confirms allergy and sinus problems increase when sufferers live in sterile environments. Addressing IAQ with HEPA filters in most applications is expensive “over kill”.
An executive order makes waste reduction, energy conservation, IAQ and bio-terrorism equipment eligible for federal funding. Using 60-month “lease to own” contracts, the purchase of these permanent filters and cleaning machine can be financed under this executive order. Building owners simply pay first and last month payments to install the filters. They own these filters after 58 months with an expected lifetime service life. The cost is less and everybody wins except the disposable A/C filter manufacturers.
The “Apples to Apples” price customers pay for each permanent filter under this “lease to own” program is about $1.00 a month for standard size filters. A numerical customized spreadsheet demonstrates the exact dollar savings that is achieved by cleaning these permanent filters compared to changing disposable A/C filters in the Customers application. Switching to permanent filters, under this “lease to own” plan, costs far less after subtracting the overhead and headaches of disposable A/C filters. The monthly payment is up to 50% less than the cost of temporary A/C filters thrown in land fills every year. Building owners keep their money by spending less for cleaner air with less restriction while eliminating the overhead and headaches of disposable A/C filters.
Cleaning Permanent A/C Filters:
A pressure gauge can be easily mounted on the most active A/C unit at a facility. This gauge determines the maintenance schedule for cleaning all on-site filters. Some filters may be cleaned early but none will be neglected. The permanent filters perform longer in most applications before they have to be cleaned.
Unskilled labor can be used to clean these filters. A pressure gauge determines how dirty each filter is and when it is cleaned back to an acceptable pressure drop. A 24” x 72” x 1” or 2” thick custom-built permanent filter can be cleaned back to its original pressure drop condition in about 2 minutes.The company has formed strategic alliances with national service contractors to clean these filters under an economical outside service contract as needed.
Independent, documented records of cleaning the only “state of the art” and truly permanent filter of its kind, based on the ASHRAE technical standard of pressure drop, can prevent IAQ negligence charges. In case of IAQ litigation or bio-terrorism, a building owner can show he has done all a prudent businessman can do within the available technology.
Recycling, Waste Reduction & ISO Certification:
Municipal, state and federal governments constantly stress recycling but recycling of disposable A/C filters is not an option. Switching to permanent A/C filters eliminate paper waste from the solid waste stream without recycling! One garment factory permanently cut its solid paper waste by 50% with Fiberlene. Every school, factory, mall, office building or government facility can reduce waste dramatically by switching to cleaning these permanent A/C filters. The waste reduction and energy savings, acquired by using these permanent filters, adds valuable points for companies seeking ISO or LEED certification.
Underwriters will not finance other permanent filters for 60 months because they will not provide at least a 5-year unconditional repair or replacement warranty. Fiberlene offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee. No other permanent filter custom fits all units at “No extra charge”. No other permanent filter can be easily cleaned after handling grease, welding fumes, diesel fumes, carbon black dust, salt, lint and other contaminates in 100% of the commercial, industrial, institutional or residential market. In labs and other sterile environments, the low restriction and high loading capacity allow these permanent filters to be used as pre-filters in order to double or triple the life of very expensive HEPA filters.
Fancy sales tools can make anything look better than it is. A/C filters and maintenance are a dirty, permanent problem with financial, legal and other consequences for those who ignore them. Many building owners and managers have the complacent attitude that says, “It’s not broke and I’m not looking for problems” or “We’ve always done it this way” or “It’s not my money” Or “Our maintenance people won’t change filters so they sure won’t clean filters” or “I don’t have time to fool with something as petty as A/C filters, see my maintenance director.” Supervisors with a PhD will naively refer this expensive A/C filter decision to a janitor with an 8th grade education because they can’t see the “out of sight, out of mind” problem.
Whatever conclusions you draw from this White Paper, one thing is sure; the money you spend by changing temporary A/C filters will end up in landfills. Throwing billions of dollars worth of temporary A/C filters in landfills every year is an expensive and wasteful habit. We offer a better choice and offer a free cash flow analysis and quote based on your usage.