The Role of HVAC filter in Building Operation and Maintenance

  • YEAR
    Zhou, Jin
    Kang, Ye
    Chang, Victor Wei‐Chung
    Cao, Qingliang
    Luhung, Irvan
    2017 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science
    Conference Papers


The filter in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is the first line of defence
to maintain a healthy indoor environment from airborne particle pollutants. The work focuses on the
analysis of indoor/outdoor airborne particulate matter (PM) concentrations and materials accumulated
on HVAC filters. We used optical particle counters/sizers to monitor the PM number concentrations in
five indoor environments and one outdoor location. The filter samples from the corresponding HVAC
systems were collected after monitoring period for biological contents analysis. Results from the mass
balance model showed that the indoor/outdoor (I/O) particle ratios generally degreased with higher filter
grades, indicating the filter effectiveness in removing PM from the outdoor and recirculating air. The total
accumulated amounts of biological contents also suggested the similar trends. The pressure drops across
the filters, however, provided some limiting factors for pursuing the highest filter efficiency in typical
building operation. The results showed that the benefits of using higher quality filters will gradually
decrease or even off‐set by the increasing pressures drops that directly translated to the energy
consumptions, highlighting the importance to obtain a balance between these design and operating
conditions. In addition, we observed that the different indoor conditions such as occupancy level and the
function of the indoor environment are highly associated with the amount of deposited biological
contents on the filters.


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