Due to the pandemic, facilities are prioritizing their indoor air filtration and as a result, demand for high-efficiency air filters has gone through the roof. This has led to long lead times for orders, production shortages, soaring costs and other issues. The solution to these problems lies in a relatively low-cost and necessary filtration product: the prefilter.
Production Delays and Shortages
Air filters with ratings of MERV 13 and higher can block microorganisms as small as the COVID-19 virus (read our article, How Commercial Air Filtration Reduces the Risk of COVID-19 for an in-depth look at the advantages of high-efficiency MERV-rated filters). As a result, demand for these high-efficiency air filters has increased by up to 10X (as reported by Fortune).
All this demand would be great for air filter manufacturers if they could keep up. But they can’t. Air filter companies are facing the same labor shortages seen by many manufacturers. Manpower issues slow down production, leading to lead times that can be months long. Other problems are related to transportation logistics, such as a lack of truck drivers, backlogged ports and even a shortage of shipping containers. These issues not only slow the delivery of the high-efficiency air filters but of raw materials coming into the factories.
Some experts predict air filter shortages will not be ending soon. Says Talbot Gee, CEO of HARDI (a nonprofit association for HVACR wholesalers), “As long as demand stays strong, we’re going to have these shortages … Everyone is assuming this is going to take at least the full calendar year to work itself all the way out.”
If you can’t get new air filters, what do you do? Easy—you make sure your high-efficiency air filters stay clean, so they last longer and without a dip in performance. After all, dirty filters need to be cleaned often or replaced due to dirty media blocking the airflow, or you risk sky-high energy bills and broken HVAC equipment (and with shortages on HVAC equipment in general, including replacement coils, equipment replacement is an entirely different and even worse challenge than air filter replacement!).
The best way to keep your final air filters working more efficiently is with good, reusable prefilters. They are also commonly referred to as air intake filters or cottonwood filters. You put them outside or inside your HVAC unit filter bank, where they act as a barrier for those more fragile and pleated high-efficiency air filters, keeping larger debris out. By blocking larger contaminants, prefilters extend the life of your final air filters by up to 2-3X. For a relatively low investment, they can be installed on every HVAC unit, including (and most especially) outside rooftop units.
PreVent® and Model IN
Some states, such as New York, are now mandating filter upgrades, which means demand for high-efficiency air filters will not be slowing down soon. So don’t delay in installing your prefilters. When looking for the finest prefilter, look no further than Permatron, which has made the industry’s best filtration products for more than 60 years. Permatron is a leader in air filter innovation, manufacturing an impressive assortment of customizable prefilters including the Model IN filter, the original washable electrostatic filter, and are easier to clean than metal mesh filters. Permatron prefilters also include the popular PreVent air intake screens, which have been shown to save some facilities tens of thousands of dollars in coil cleaning costs alone and can be customized for nearly any intake size or shape.
Which prefilter is right for you? Contact Permatron for more information or for a free sample.