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What’s the Difference Between HVAC Filters & Dust Collector Filters?

Author: Lisa Frank

Indoor air quality within a manufacturing facility requires more consideration than that of an office building. Simply relying on an HVAC system to clean and clear the air in a shop just won’t cut it.

The basic difference is the filter media. The simplest way to understand is based on MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings. The MERV rating, created in 1987, rates the effectiveness of your filters from 1 to 16. The number scale corresponds with the capture range of particulate from 0.3 microns to 10 microns. For a reference point, the diameter of a human hair is 70 microns. The rating reflects how well your filters will work within your residential or commercial spaces. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient your filter will be and the smaller the micron they will capture.

While standard filtration systems in office building can hold HEPA filters for better breathing conditions, the filters are not suited for high volume dust and smoke that a production facility can produce and will clog quickly. The square, thin type of filters in your air return vents in your office building are typically MERV 8 and at best MERV 13. These lower rated (7 to 12) type filters are usually made of fiberglass.

Relying on just the building HVAC unit to filter the air of a production area will overwork the HVAC unit, clog filters, and maintain an unsafe working environment.

Having a dust collector onsite at your facility is a step in the right direction to filter the air, keep your shop clean and your employees healthy. But you need to make sure you have the correct filters in your dust collector.

Dust collector filters vary based on the type of dust needing to be filtered, to be able to combat the dust particles. A MERV rating of 14-16 is common within dust collector filters, such as the filters that AirMax offers. These filters made of spunbond polyester, nanofiber or 80/20 media are aimed to collect extremely fine dust, smoke, and fumes from work areas within a production facility. 

It is important to select the proper filter for the job. Consider reading our blog: Choosing The Right Filter Media, and then let the team at AirMax supply you with filters for your dust collector.  Shop filters online.

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