Air filters, which are of great benefit to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that are able to afford them, are more popular than ever in times of pandemic.
As indoor air quality has become a priority in business settings, HVAC companies are struggling to meet the demand for high quality filtration systems.
Air filters are made of materials similar to masks and other personal protective equipment, causing a shortage, according to the president of Ontario-based Springbank Mechanical Systems, Gregg Little.
“Demand is very strong at the moment,” confirms a branch manager of Carmichael Engineering Ltd., Claudio Mastronardi. People prioritize their health and safety over costs. “
The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board has identified “indoor air quality” as one of the major real estate trends that emerged from the pandemic. She also notes that the crisis has “created a greater demand for air filters, from basic models to sophisticated intelligent systems.”
That’s not to say it’s been easy business for HVAC companies, many of which have significantly cut their maintenance budgets while others spend without looking, Little says.
Demand has skyrocketed because local authorities have forced homeowners to look into their buildings’ filtration systems.
Not a miracle cure
However, City of Toronto public health officials added that there was “no evidence that air filters on their own can reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Emerging air filtration technologies like dry hydrogen peroxide and bipolar ionization are increasingly popular, but leave many experts skeptical about their effectiveness.
Asset management company Brookfield, which uses bipolar ionization, plans to implement it in all of its offices to reduce emissions and energy consumption. Owners will also perceive older air filtration systems as “obsolete,” Brookfield Property Partners CEO Brian Kingston said at an investor event in the fall.
Air filters can be used to slow the spread of the virus and it is very important for buildings to achieve minimum ventilation standards, but a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Mining at the University of Toronto, Jeffrey Siegel, warns that improving air filters is not a silver bullet.
Mr. Siegel adds that proper installation is essential for air filters to function, especially with thicker filters and advanced technologies like ultraviolet lamps. According to him, building owners should only hire HVAC companies that can give customer references.