01/10/2012 // Riverdale, NJ, USA // Green Air Filters // Lynne Laake
(Air Filter News) – Each year, 2 million hospital patients — 1 of every 6 patients in the United States — suffers an infection they acquired within the healthcare facility. All too often, these are serious, even deadly conditions (with pneumonia chief among them). They can be financially worrisome, as well, adding $28 billion to $34 billion annually to the nation’s healthcare costs, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control. The irony, perhaps, is that almost all of these infections can be prevented — with proper air filtration systems.
Yet ensuring clean, healthful air within hospitals is not always a straightforward task. Understanding air filter ratings and best practices is essential, but it is an area where many hospitals and healthcare facilities are lagging — perilously so. To help administrators reduce infection rates, Dave Blackwell, the healthcare segment manager for Camfil Farr, the leading provider of clean air solutions, has written a primer on air filter ratings and on the steps hospitals can take to ensure healthful indoor air. His article, “Mitigate Risk, Win Infection Control Battle by Understanding Ins and Outs of Air Filter Ratings,” appears in December’s International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Health Care Counsel newsletter.
In his report, Dave explains the importance of understanding not just the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings established by ASHRAE, but also the new MERV-A rating. That rating, the article notes, is important for hospitals as it is an indication of true air filter efficiency after a filter becomes dirty and if it loses any electrostatic charge it may have had. Many low-cost commercial air filters, Dave writes, rely on electrostatically charged filter media, and typically lose that charge within the first few hundred hours of filter life — far earlier than it takes a filter to fully load with dust. What many hospitals fail to recognize is that their indoor air quality can be no better than the MERV-A rating of the final filter — not the MERV rating.
Unfortunately, many MERV 14 air filters — the standard level of patient care within hospitals – may have MERV-A ratings as low as MERV 10A. That means the air filtration is far less efficient than hospitals may think. The air is dirtier than it should be, with more airborne bacteria and viruses present — a particularly dangerous scenario for patients with compromised immune systems.
The good news: Not all commercial air filters rely on electrostatic charge. More innovative filters, like those from Camfil Farr, use fine fiber media that not only perform more efficiently than low-grade products, over longer periods of time, but use less energy. Indeed, hospitals and other healthcare facilities that have switched to Camfil Farr air filters have seen their infection rates decrease — and their HVAC energy costs drop by as much as 40 percent.
In his article, Dave also points out a number of key steps hospital administrators and facilities managers can take to reduce the risk of infection. These include specifying air filters that have MERV-A ratings equal to MERV ratings, and requiring filter manufacturers to produce ASHRAE-compliant air filter test reports that document their product’s complete filtration performance. These simple steps will not only boost performance, but indoor air quality — and in a hospital environment, that can save lives.
The world leader in air filtration systems, Camfil Farr provides clean air solutions for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality, and reduce airborne infections — all while lowering total cost of ownership. Camfil Farr customers go green without ever sacrificing performance. For more air filter information, visit us online at www.green-air-filters.com, or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.
Url: Clean Air Solutions Company