While clean air is a key ingredient to every part of the food and beverage manufacturing process, it is not the only ingredient involved if you take a filters only approach to clean air.
Come and join us at Food Safety Europe 2019 where HVDS will be speaking to delegates about the need for a holistic approach to clean air management and clean air risk assessments. Whereas filters are a key element, the overall health of the system needs to be assessed by engineering, hygiene and inspection auditors.
It would be dangerous to suggest that the use of any particular filter could improve shelf life as there are so many factors in the whole food manufacturing process. For example, ventilation and dust collection systems should be considered, and clean air systems should be managed in a joined up strategy.
Auditors Indoor Air Quality Risk assessments should be on the basis of a complete system inspection.
HVDS are leaders in Food Industry Clean Air Solutions.
As the only known company that is focused in the Food and Beverage business, HVDS is respected in the food industry as the preferred supplier for audit compliant Indoor Air Quality. At HVDS our focus is on more than just filters – it is to safeguard food industry processes and systems against airborne contamination. Our knowledge of how systems work give our customers peace of mind and brand protection.
As a clean air managed services provider, HVDS work with our customers to maintain filter systems to the meet the latest regulations and guidelines as well as meet the stringent requirements of audit compliance.
As a company HVDS are assisting auditors with practical steps to help their customers and clients meet Indoor Air Quality requirements.
Fabric ducts in the food processing environment help to generate a healthier and more hygienic atmosphere by improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and an optimised air distribution. And we know that improved IAQ has proven to significantly increase labour productivity and reduce sickness related absence, and the costs associated with the correlated downtime. They also guarantee stable and homogeneous air diffusion in all types of installation.
In addition to these benefits to employees there are other very sound technical reasons to be using fabric ducting in your food processing plant.
Here we take a quick look at these. They include:
- The high cooling loads required in a typical food production area usually lead to quite wide temperature differences. As a result this can lead to high volumes of very cold air entering the room. It is vital to maintain a low air velocity in the room air movement so that this cold air doesn’t make people ill or uncomfortable, and this is really only achievable with fabric ducting. This is due to the high diffusion area of fabric installed within the production space.
- Due to the lightweight nature of the fabric design, fabric ducting is more hygienic but also far easier to install and clean. Usually duct cleaning can be a time consuming and complicated procedure. However, fabric duct systems can be easily washed by simply removing, washing and sanitising the fabric ducting systems, and then replacing them in their original positions.
- Due to their size and rigidity, most ductwork systems often require specialist transport arrangements for delivery. However, due to their lightweight design, the fabric ducting systems can be easily transported using a standard delivery method. Their lightweight construction also means that the fabric ducts require fewer fixings and assembling components, therefore making installation quick and simple
If you need help or advice with your ducting systems or air ventilation requirements, get in touch with HVDS today on 01785 256976.
Waste is a significant problem in food supply chains. There is potential for spoilage of food products at any stage of the supply chain when the products reach their “best before” or “sell by date”.
As a key to the food waste problem, there is a trend towards developing shelf life solutions that are intended to allow products not only to last longer, but also to improve their quality and nutritional benefits. This cannot happen soon enough if we consider for a moment the following facts:
- Between 1.3mt and 2.6mt of food is wasted every year because the product life has expired. Households waste food because it has ‘not been used in time’ and retailers don’t sell food that has exceeded its use-by date.
- Some 250,000 tonnes of food waste can be prevented by a one-day increase in product life. This includes food wasted by households and by the retailer supply chain.
- By preventing this volume of waste, UK shoppers look at a potential shared saving of up to £500 million. The direct business benefit to retailers is approaching £100 million in waste prevention alone: with increased sales through improved on-shelf availability it is another benefit retailers may enjoy.
How can good air filtration help and support this situation?
One area that can help to reduce waste and improve supermarket shelf life is in the food processing plants and specifically, good ventilation and air filtration.
We know that poor filtration and ventilation allows for the build up of moulds and yeast, which is a major cause of product deterioration. The knock on effect in terms of waste, revenue loss and brand damage is a major issue for supermarkets, manufacturers and the end customer.
Therefore, proper air filtration and air ventilation strategies are key in order to act on the microorganisms such as bacteria and moulds found in the atmosphere. Properly maintained filtration and air ventilation systems will reduce the amount of moisture in the air and eliminate particles containing bacteria etc… by sterilising, collecting and retaining them. It is also important that ventilation and air filtration equipment is maintained, as the damp, moist or humid ventilation system can act as a breeding ground for mould.
However, it is not just the air quality in the processing plant that can help. The following factors can also be present in a supermarket;
- Gases such as carbon monoxide or radon
- Contaminants such as mold
- Improper or inadequate ventilation
and they can all affect Indoor Air Quality.
So, it is important for supermarkets to take Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) seriously in order to improve customer experience, reduce waste and improve shelf-life, however it is a sad fact that some supermarkets are not giving this issue careful consideration, outside of the energy saving and cost reduction agenda.
Talk to us about our air filtration and ventilation solutions today. Contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The concept of Diffusion Ducting is designed to provide an even distribution of hot or cool air throughout closed worksites and temporary buildings.
Advanced industrial fabric with perforations allows for more efficient air circulation along the entire length of the duct, while ensuring strength and durability. It has been developed for use with heater ducts or industrial fans.
- Improve air distribution and efficiency
Because they consist of air distribution holes this allows the air that passes through the holes to create what is known as ‘high induction’ which can significantly improve air distribution and efficiency.
- Improved hygiene levels
In addition, there is increased hygiene and no condensation.The high induction effect prevents the moisture stagnation in the ducts that usually results in condensation development. This minimises air borne particles from moisture related bacteria that are emitted to the indoor environment from your air handling system.
- Quick installation
Other benefits include fast installation and delivery. For example, due to their lightweight design, the fabric ducting systems can be easily transported using a standard delivery method. Their lightweight construction also means that the fabric ducts require fewer fixings and assembling components, therefore making installation quick and simple.
- Easy to clean
Also, it’s easy to clean and can be easily washed. It’s as simple as removing, washing and sanitising the fabric ducting systems, and then replacing them in their original positions.
By ensuring an improved indoor air quality (IAQ) and an optimised air distribution, fabric ducts help to generate a healthier and more hygienic environment for your employees and manufacturing process within your food factory.
Improved IAQ has proven to significantly increase labour productivity and reduce sickness related absence, and the costs associated with the correlated downtime. They also guarantee stable and homogeneous air diffusion in all types of installation.
How do organisations go about creating a safety culture, or more specifically for food processors, a food safety culture? In this update we take a look at what food safety culture is, and why it is so important to an organisation.
Firstly, what is food safety culture?
Well organisational culture is often said to be “The way that we do things around here” but more specifically, organisational culture is made up of the following three elements:
- The visible
- The spoken
- The invisible
1. The visible element is what can be seen, for example premises, equipment, staff activities and documentation.
2. The spoken element are those rules and processes such as management memos, town hall meetings, training and reward and recognition schemes
3. Perhaps most important however are the invisible elements, those things that are the organisations underlying values. The paradox here is that these elements are often the hardest to see, yet their impact on food safety culture within an organisation is very great.
What drives these underlying values is the tone at the top, the leadership and the level of commitment that management has regarding food safety.
In addition, other elements of food safety culture include:
- Business priorities i.e. the extent to which an organisation prioritises food safety and their overall attitude regarding food safety as opposed to other priorities like cost saving or revenue generation.
- Risk perception – The organisation’s perception and understanding of the risks embedded in a food production environment.
- The organisation’s perception of the effectiveness and validity of food safety regulations.
- Food safety ownership or the level of responsibility that an organisation accepts in relation to food safety.
- Competence – The level of understanding an organisation has regarding risk management procedures.
- Employee engagement – The level of commitment the wider organisation has toward food safety.
- Effective communication – The level of communication across the organisation and the freedom for employees to challenge procedures.
This all sounds pretty straightforward stuff, right out of the business school playbook. Well, if that it is the case it raises the questions why do businesses fail to create such a culture and repeatedly “miss the mark”.
There are 4 key reasons why this might be the case:
- Confirmation Bias – the human tendency to search for, favour, and use information that confirms one’s pre-existing views on a certain topic. This can be especially the case where there is a strong CEO or senior group that operates in a controlling way.
- The Illusion of Control – this is similar to the above as there is belief that “We know what we are doing so nothing will go wrong”.
- Cognitive Dissonance – the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. For example, you’re at work, and you notice that it appears to be okay for food quality checks to be done every 2-3 hours rather than the hourly standard that the employee manual states. However, if the company seems okay with it, you can see how you might be conflicted regarding what to do.
- Organisational Ambivalence – there are more important or pressing matters – cost control, production targets – to be addressed.
It is no easy task to create a positive culture in an organisation, however, the rewards are significant through factors such as increased efficiency, greater staff engagement and increased revenue numbers. A win for everyone.
For more information on how HVDs can help you to create an effective food safety culture in your organisation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or email email@example.com.
How important is it to inspect ductwork and how often should you do it?
In the food processing industry hygienic air handling is a critical element of the production environment. However, in many cases the focus of engineering is concentrated on the hygienic air handler with insufficient consideration given to the air delivery system. To create a sanitary process, hygienic duct design, fabrication and maintenance is also required.
It is a fact that no matter how well a ventilation system works, grease and other extracted products will build up in the ducting and air handling units of an extraction system. Consequently, dust and bacteria will accumulate in the air ducts and air handling systems. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated, on average up to 10 times per day.
Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork, these then become a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. The buildup of dust, dirt and grease in air ducts can result in significant health & safety issues due to potential fire hazards and poor performance. And not only does it pose a major health and safety risk, but reduced effectiveness of an extraction system, can significantly impact on equipment service life.
So, regular AHU and ductwork inspection and cleaning is vital to prevent the build-up of dust, product or condensate that may provide a focus for microbial growth. Without regular AHU & ductwork cleaning, air will pass through the polluted duct carrying bacteria onto or around the food process areas.
It is therefore the duty of building owners and plant managers to ensure the maintenance of ductwork cleaning within the air handling systems. They also need to be able to provide suitable maintenance and sanitation records to support audit compliance.
How often should I be inspecting?
Ordinarily as part of an annual risk assessment or verification. In some cases, for example when significant system remedial works or cleaning has been undertaken an inspection would be part of the procedure for bringing plant safely back into service.
Also comprehensive ductwork cleaning and cleanliness surveys highlight the conditions of the ducting and help to manage any necessary repairs that could go unnoticed.
The Benefits of Regular Inspections and Cleaning
- Minimising airborne contamination and so reducing health and safety risks
- Long term energy and cost savings
- Increased operating efficiency
- Enhancing overall indoor air quality (IAQ)
In the manufacturing and processing of food products there are plenty of opportunities for various airborne particles to be emitted to the indoor environment through the air handling system, and so it is safe to say that there are a wealth of benefits that unfold from ensuring the cleanliness of your ductwork and air handling systems. This will only happen if there are regular inspections and maintenance checks.
If you require more details about your airborne contamination control, indoor air quality, and our duct and air handling cleaning services please contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business owners and facilities managers need to make smart, cost-effective decisions on their air handling equipment. In order to do this, they require detailed information about the service life of the AHU system and its components, and of course they want to see a return on their investment (ROI), but it can be difficult to calculate the value of investing in high-efficiency ventilation systems.
Part of the complexity derives from the number of variables to consider including:-
- Correct specification of AHU & air handling equipment for the industry & application
- Size of the AHU in relation to its requirements, including additional capacity allowance
- Size of the AHU in relation to the size & type of the ductwork
- The condition and cleanliness of the ductwork
- Siting and placement of the AHU
- Amount of exposure to the elements (outdoor locations)
- Weather & climate conditions (indoor & outdoor locations)
- Compatibility with other/upgraded equipment & components and any additional capacity requirements
- Regularity of preventative maintenance
- Regularity of filter changes
- Intensity of use and equipment demand
- Quality of equipment, installation, filters and maintenance
In short, the many variables listed above can be distilled down into three broad categories:
- External environmental factors
- The size and workload of the AHU
- The robustness of the maintenance programme that will support the AHU
However, by far the most critical in keeping an AHU system for a long time is the effectiveness of the maintenance programme. Lack of cleaning and maintenance, as well as neglecting equipment breakdowns, massively impacts on the AHU and air handling equipment life expectancy. As a result, it’s no surprise that complications regularly occur and parts and components require premature replacement. Furthermore, these oversights have the potential to cause more serious problems that could be extremely costly later down the line.
When an HVAC system is not regularly maintained, it has to work harder to retain its efficiency levels. Research shows that neglected repairs and lack of HVAC system maintenance in commercial and industrial buildings can lower the efficiency by as much as 40%
Therefore to minimise unexpected interruptions and ensure the best possible return on investment, and to optimize the life expectancy of your unit, it is crucial to implement and regiment an effective and proactive maintenance programme for all elements of an HVAC system. This includes inspection, repairs, filter changes and cleaning of the AHU and the associated ductwork. As well as promising to increase life expectancy of the air handling equipment, fully integrated and managed air handling service packages are also designed to improve filtration, plant conditions, working environments and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), as well as save on energy, improve efficiency, and reduce stocking and downtime within a manufacturing facility.
This is particularly important in the food processing industry where there is potential risks in product contamination, shelf life, odours and risks to employees health.
If you would like more information about the our Air Handling Units contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or email@example.com.
In the latest update for our Clean Air Day series, we take a look at ways you can reduce indoor air pollution. National Clean Air Day takes place on 21st June 2018 and the day aims to raise awareness of the impact of unclean air on our health and the environment.
We spend over 90% of our time indoors, so indoor air quality has a big impact on our lifetime exposure to pollutants, and so here are 5 ways to reduce Indoor Air Pollution:
Good ventilation is the key to avoiding air pollution in the home and workplace. It will also help avoid the build up of air polluting moulds too.
Whether it is the boiler at home, or more sophisticated air handling systems in the office, factory or supermarket, a regular maintenance schedule is essential in the fight against air pollution.
Use less energy
It goes without saying but gas and electricity are big contributors to air pollution. Gas creates fumes when we burn it to heat our homes, and electricity produced by power stations burning fossil fuels has the same result. However, there are a lot of simple things that we can all do to use less energy, from switching off lights to setting timers and thermostats correctly.
Maintain the correct humidity
Mould and dust mites love moisture, and whether it is in your home or workplace, it is important to maintain the correct humidity. In a factory environment, failure to do so will allow moisture vapour to either rise or drop below “normal” levels which could potentially damage your product, machinery, and cause certain health issues with workers.
In order to dehumidify your home, try the following:
- Use an exhaust fan while cooking, or leave the windows wide open while using the dishwasher.
- Avoid over-watering your house plants.
- Use the clothes line outside.
- If there are leaky pipes, fix them to prevent mould growth.
Plant more plants
NASA recently discovered that many household plants, like the Gerbera Daisy, Peace Lily and English Ivy are instrumental in removing carbon monoxide from the air. They operate much like the human liver by filtering harmful chemicals and dangerous compounds from the air, absorbing the toxins through tiny pores in their leaves and “digesting” the pollution through their stems, roots and out through the soil.
Using these natural air filters in your home or office can greatly reduce the amount of indoor air pollution and help eliminate recurring colds and respiratory problems.
In our latest Clean Air Day series update, we take a look at the importance of Indoor Air Quality, as well as answering some frequently asked questions regarding indoor air pollution and IAQ in the workplace.
What can affect Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor sources of air pollution are not always considered; however, it has been found that a number of sources emitting a variety of substances include:
- gas cookers
- cleaning products
- damp and mould
- cigarette smoke
- carbon monoxide
It is thought that indoor pollutants may cause several thousand deaths per year in the UK, and the experts felt that this was an area to be studied further.
How big of a problem is indoor air pollution?
If we consider that humans breathe around 3,000 gallons of air each day, and that 90% of our time is spent indoors, then we should not be surprised that it’s the indoor pollutants that are more likely to get people sick, causing symptoms such as fatigue and headaches. These pollutants can be found all throughout the home and can be naturally occurring, like mould, or come from chemicals in synthetic products.
Studies of air quality in buildings have found that levels of a number of pollutants are commonly higher indoors than outside. Recent research has highlighted that chemicals released indoors that leave the building by ventilation are a significant source of pollution of the outdoor air in urban areas.
How does indoor air pollution affect our health?
The effects of indoor air pollutants range from short-term effects, eye and throat irritation for example, to long-term effects – respiratory disease and cancer. Exposure to high levels of some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can even result in immediate death. Also the effects of indoor air pollution might not come to light until many years after exposure.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help to reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. However, there is common consent that there needs to be more research done to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and other buildings, and which occurs from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.
Is indoor air pollution a concern in workplaces?
Workplaces have a lot of similar air quality issues to homes, although the exact pollutant mix will depend on the building characteristics and the nature of the work being carried out. There are legal standards for a range of chemicals and dusts in workplace air but these largely address industrial rather than office environments.
For all situations, good ventilation and good maintenance of equipment are really important to keeping levels of indoor air pollution as low as possible. Of growing interest is the impact of the indoor environment (including air quality) on the well-being and performance of the workforce.
“As worker salaries dominate the cost of most businesses, the potential benefits for achieving an indoor environment that is both good for people and profits are increasingly a topic of board level discussion” says Dr. Derrick Crump, an expert and researcher into indoor air quality.
In our next update we will look at how Indoor Air Pollution can be reduced, and what can be done to improve Indoor Air Quality in a range of settings.
The second national Clean Air Day 2018 will take place on the 21st June, led by the environmental charity Global Action Plan.
Businesses, organisations and volunteers, are being asked to take part in improving the air quality of the UK by committing to try a clean air action for the first time.
Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan who helps to organise Clean Air Day says, “Improving the quality of the air we breathe requires millions of people to decide to travel differently around our cities and town, so it is hoped that the event will inspire people to take the decision to try something different – and pollution free – on this Clean Air Day.”
Here are some things we could all try – even if, in the words of the song, it’s just for one day!
- Challenge work colleagues to take part in a virtual meeting to cut-down unnecessary driving. Do you really all need to be sitting in the same room?
- Potted plants are an excellent way to catch common indoor pollutants, so organise a plant swap or sale
- Owners of electric cars are being asked to take a friend for a spin in an effort to convert 100,000 more drivers to an electric vehicle next time they upgrade
Air pollution is real, and harms the health of millions. But there are lots of simple things we can do to improve air quality and look after our own, and other people’s health.
Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution – both inside building and outdoors – share information with friends and colleagues, and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Throughout the month of June we’ll be exploring more Clean Air topics, along with how it affects the workplace, the food industry, and what can be done to preserve air quality both indoor and outdoor.
One of the factors that affects indoor air quality (IAQ) in food processing plants is odour emissions, and when the emissions have a negative impact this can lead to production problems such as a decrease in productivity and an increase in absenteeism. In short, IAQ has a massive impact on employee health and productivity.
To perform effectively in their roles, the air circulation, extraction and ventilation should be optimised to ensure the health and comfort of employees. The health repercussions from poor IAQ are extensive and links have been made to illness ranging from headaches and respiratory difficulties through to heart and liver damage, and even cancers.
However, poor indoor air quality may also account for food products becoming tainted with an alien smell or taste that has been absorbed at some point during the production process. This, of course can have a dramatic impact on sales, consumer confidence and brand loyalty
It is worth reminding ourselves of Codex Alimentarius (Recommended International Code of Practice General Principles of Food Hygiene) which states, in regard to air quality:
“4.4.6 AIR QUALITY AND VENTILATION
Adequate means of natural or mechanical ventilation should be provided, in particular to:
– minimize air-borne contamination of food
– control ambient temperatures
– control odours
– control humidity
Ventilation systems should be designed and constructed so that air does not flow from contaminated areas to clean areas.”
All food factories require ventilation and air filtration is necessary to ensure the containment of critical working areas. Because air can act as a source of contamination with sources from outside the processing area or acting as a transport medium, moving contamination from other sources within the processing area.
Hygienic Indoor Air Quality is required for the safety and comfort of employees, to maintain a safe working environment, to reduce the possibility of contamination and to help ensure the shelf-life of the product.
In many food processing facilities there is a lot of what can be described as low level IAQ. This is usually caused by contamination from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). VOC’s are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature, this pressure causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate into the air, causing contamination of the workplace environment. VOC’s can emanate from a number of unlikely applications; from computers and printers, manufacturing machinery, construction materials, furniture and furnishings, floor coverings and cleaning products.
All of these products and applications omit a range of VOC’s, including formaldehyde, toluene and other chemical solvents. To add to the contamination, heat produced by machinery and technical equipment accelerates the diffusion of emissions into the surrounding air. And since, on average as a nation, we spend 90% of our time indoors and more than a third of this in the workplace, the importance of workplace IAQ becomes apparent.
Understanding where and how air moves around within a production facility doesn’t just improve employee productivity, but it also offers other important benefits:
- Ventilation mapping, air supply and extraction are central to food manufacturing compliance audits; ensuring hygiene and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
- Clean air handling is essential for maintaining separation between high care and low care areas, and when these are effectively managed they can reduce the amount of financial loss related to down-time from contamination.
Investment and Cost Savings
Initial outlays for a better IAQ can be as little as a few hundred pounds depending on the physical size of a business and the air handling products and services that are required. However, once it is completed the business potential of 20% increased labour productivity, significantly reduced outgoing costs from inefficient air handling and limiting the possibility of a negative brand reputation, far outweighs the investment, and even changes the strategy from business retention to business development.
For more information and advice on the impact air filtration and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can be affected by various factors:
- Gases such as carbon monoxide or radon
- Contaminants such as mold
- Improper or inadequate ventilation
All of these factors can be present in a supermarket, which are complex buildings, especially with regard to heating and ventilation, and they can all affect Indoor Air Quality. On the one hand they require tight humidity controls to prevent frost build up, for example in the refrigerated aisles. However, that leads to cool/cold air being spilled across the aisles thereby creating a cold, unwelcoming environment for the consumer.
So, being able to lower the humidity whilst maintaining a pleasant temperature is a challenge. Especially when supermarkets must strive to create an environment that is comfortable for the shopper and safe for the worker.
Take this scenario for example: while you are controlling humidity in a supermarket, you also have to deal with ventilation air requirements.This is especially important in supermarkets that have an in-house bakery. When you have bakeries, you have more exhaust air, so you need ventilation air to make up for that exhaust.Supermarkets also have open food on the deli, fish and meat counter. In addition, it is also vital to maintain a healthy IAQ in the building, so you want adequate exhaust air. And this is all going on whilst trying to maintain a good aesthetic and environment for the shopper.
A further challenge is that supermarkets are wanting to maintain IAQ but with minimum energy use, especially as spiralling energy costs are creating serious financial challenges in a very competitive sector. It is worth remembering that supermarkets use four to five times more energy per square foot than any other type of commercial building.
Interestingly, most of the narrative – articles in trade press etc. – is about energy savings and cost control rather than discussion around environmental factors and the impact of IAQ, and perhaps that needs to change.
Indeed, whilst it is well reported that outdoor air pollution can be, and is harmful to one’s health, there is little attention given to indoor air quality in the same way. So, why are some supermarkets not giving this issue careful consideration, outside of the energy saving and cost reduction agenda? ? Why is it where filters are used, the unit cost of filters is the most important rather than quality and the right filter?
This leaves many with the question – Is it possible to maximize energy efficiency and cost savings, while providing an indoor air quality that satisfies consumers and staff, as well as ensuring food safety at the right temperature and humidity?
The main purposes of a Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system are to help maintain good indoor air quality through adequate ventilation with filtration and provide thermal comfort.
The following guide will help engineers to ensure they know what to look for when inspecting ventilation systems.
It’s clear that poorly maintained HVAC systems can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold spores,dust, pollen, and odour-causing particulate matter. Simply changing the filters on an HVAC system is not enough to give adequate protection from the effects of contaminated indoor air.
We are all aware of the terms, “indoor air quality” (IAQ) and it is fair to say that most IAQ problems are caused by inadequate ventilation, a source of pollution or a combination of the two. So, how do we keep ventilation systems in effective working order?
1.Inspection of the ventilation system will usually start with a visual check of all the equipment (e.g. dampers, protective devices against weather, insects and rodents, the hygiene of the coils, fans and insulation, the presence of water and condition of condensate drain pans and humidifier reservoirs).
a. Frequency of Inspection – at least once a week for signs of damage or faults. A smoke test can quickly determine if the outside air is entering the system
2.Check the equipment thoroughly which should include:
a. Filters and Belts – Your employees and customers need to function in a clean, clear environment, and when the air filters and belts start to wear out, the atmosphere in your facility can become compromised. Regular inspection of these components lets you know if anything requires replacement before they become too damaged to function.
b. Coils – It’s important to make sure all coils are free of debris so they function properly. Build up of dust and particles over time could impair your equipment and cause problems that require you to replace units prematurely.
c. Calibration – When you set temperature controls to a certain level, you want the air to reflect the settings and so, calibration ensures that what you set is, what you get.
d. Inspection of Wiring –An obvious one but checking the wiring during regular maintenance to make sure everything is properly connected is a “no brainer”
e. Ductwork –. It’s always a good idea to clean your duct work regularly and check for infestation and clogs as there could be a risk of mold forming.
f. Thermostats – Depending on the size of the workspace, there could be one or several thermostats situated throughout the building so keep an eye on your thermostats and lo
ok for anomalies.
3. Periodic Systems Checks
a. Perform these monthly, or as needed to meet the demands of the business.
b. Check thermostat operation. If your thermostats are not operating correctly throughout the season, your HVAC systems could be running more frequently than necessary and thereby increasing energy costs. If thermostats are not working properly, have them repaired or replaced.
c. Check drip pan and drain lines. Clogs in HVAC systems’ drainage lines can cause moisture to back up into your building, causing mold and mildew growth as well as the potential for damage. Make sure the drip pan and drain lines are emptying correctly and remove any obstructions that develop.
In January 2017, the, International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) announced the formal introduction of the new filter test standard ISO 16890, which HVDS fully embraces.
This new ISO 16890 standard amalgamates the European EN 779 and American ASHRAE to create a new globalised standard incorporating a superior level of detail when evaluating the performance of a filter, in order to prevent ambiguity that previous test methods allowed room for.
Development of ISO 16890
The drive for change in standard was undertaken by some of the leading companies in air filter manufacturing. A change that was tested and audited in company laboratories. This may be seen as a bias move by air filter companies to control the biggest transition to a new standard since EN 779 2012. However, the objective of the new standard was to set the best practice of filter classification globally, offering clarity to the user to determine what filter to use based on the 4 classifications within the new standard.
|ISO ePM1||ePM1, min ≥ 50 %|
|ISO ePM2,5||ePM2,5, min ≥ 50 %|
|ISO ePM10||ePM10 ≥ 50 %|
|ISO coarse||ePM10 < 50 %|