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Air quality matters. In fact, it’s one of the most important factors in maintaining good health. Poor air quality — and in particular, poor indoor air quality — can not only have harmful health effects but also often lead to other concerns. For business owners, these concerns can translate into reduced productivity and increased absenteeism. While maintaining a clean work environment is one way to protect good air quality, properly tending to the needs of your HVAC system is another and arguably more important measure. The commercial air conditioner filters that protect your units don’t last forever, so here’s what you should know about replacing them.

Why You Must Regularly Change Commercial Air Conditioner Filters in the First Place

Man opening ac air filter in ceilingIt makes sense to change filters with some regularity so that you can keep allergens, dust, and other airborne particles from recirculating with ease throughout your building. However, there are other reasons to make the change, too. Over time, filters become dirtier as trapped contaminants build-up on its fibers. The net result is twofold: dirty filters allow more contaminants to pass through while also making it harder for your air conditioner to pull the correct volume of air. Not only does this lead up to build-ups of dust on important system components, but it also makes the system work much harder. Dirty filters reduce efficiency, wear out the hardware more quickly, and negatively impact working experiences. So when do you need to change them out for something fresh?

Rules of Thumb for Retail and Office Applications

In the most common commercial HVAC applications, filter times can vary based on several factors. These include:

  • The type of filter purchased and its rating
  • The typical indoor air quality of the building
  • How well-sealed the building is from the outside environment
  • How frequently the air conditioner must run

In general, these establishments should consider replacing their filters every one to three months. Near-quarterly changes may not be the best solution for buildings that have a high degree of foot traffic or many exterior doors. In most cases, a quick visual inspection of the filter can help to determine whether it is too dirty for continued use. 

Industrial Sites Will Need More Frequent Filter Changes

What about businesses whose work produces a large amount of airborne particles or debris? In buildings such as these, along with medical establishments, veterinarian’s offices, and other places where good air quality is essential, filter changes must take place more often. Look to replace the commercial air conditioner filters in these locations as often as every month. In rare cases, faster changes may be necessary for particularly challenging environments. Again, inspect your filters from time to time, and if you are uncertain about their current status, ask a professional for help. 

What Type of Filter Should Your Business Use?

To understand your filter options, take the opportunity to learn about MERV, or the minimum efficiency reporting value. It’s a number you can easily find on most filter packaging and which indicates how well the filter can trap even the smallest particles floating in the air. The higher the MERV value for the filter, the better it is at trapping unwanted dust and germs. While some systems use special filters (such as HEPA-equipped HVAC), in most cases, a quick look at the MERV rating and a discussion with your AC technician can reveal which product is best. 

Dust Mites in your HVAC Ducts

What About What Escapes the Filter? What You Should Know About Duct Cleaning

While filters are essential and an excellent tool for safeguarding air quality, they aren’t 100% effective. Over time, dust and other contaminants can accumulate inside your ductwork. The infiltration of moisture may occur and lead to the growth of mold, while animals from the outside may cause damage or even expire after becoming trapped inside the system. Periodic duct cleaning is essential for correcting these concerns and keeping the air clean. Aim to enlist help with cleaning your entire HVAC system once every three to five years, or as needed. As a bonus, there are many benefits to unlock with this service, too.

Need Maintenance or Cleaning? Find an HVAC Contractor in Your Area

There’s some good news: commercial air conditioner filters are easy to source and often simple to replace on your own, with no need to call in outside help. However, some larger commercial systems may prove different. In other cases, you may need professional insight into choosing the right type of filter for your building. For situations where a specialty filter might be necessary, guidance can provide the peace of mind that stems from knowing you’ve made the right choice. Whether you need advice on filters or a quote on what it would cost to clean your ducts thoroughly, know where to turn for a commercial HVAC contractor ready to help guarantee good air quality in your space.