Third-party testing shows that when ionization is added to HVAC systems, filter performance improves, particularly with respect to removing microscopic and submicroscopic particles, including many viruses and bacteria.
The practical, real-world implications of being able to add technology like ionization on top of air filters are many. So are the benefits. Here are four.
1. UPGRADING AIR FILTERS CAN BE EXPENSIVE
During the pandemic, indoor air quality (IAQ) experts recommended that HVAC systems, when possible, use a minimum of MERV-13-rated filters. With air filters, the MERV rating almost always corresponds to its cost: the higher the MERV rating, the higher the cost.
Air filters must be replaced, often four times a year or more based on typical preventative maintenance schedules. Also, HVAC systems are outfitted with many air filters of varying sizes.
These costs can add up, especially for large businesses, school districts, university systems and health care networks that own and operate multiple facilities all with their own expansive HVAC systems.
Adding ionization on top of air filters provides end users with a cost-effective solution that doesn’t compromise filter performance or indoor air quality. In fact, adding ionization as part of a building’s multilayered approach has been shown to improve filter performance.
2. MOST BUILDINGS ARE OLD, MAKING FILTER UPGRADES PROBLEMATIC
For many, upgrading air filters was and is not possible or practical given the age and state of disrepair of buildings and their HVAC systems, which have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years. Many older HVAC systems cannot accommodate, for example, HEPA filters.
Consider the following: Sixty percent of all commercial buildings in the United States in 2018 were built before 1990. The average age of a public school building in the United States is more than 40 years. According to the 2019 survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, more than four in 10 (41%) U.S. public school districts needed to update or replace at least half of their schools’ HVAC systems.
Retrofitting or replacing a building’s HVAC system to accommodate upgraded filters is often extremely expensive. It is also highly disruptive to activities (and productivity) in buildings.
Adding ionization on top of existing air filters in an HVAC system can help solve this problem.
3. HIGHER ENERGY COSTS MEAN MORE WEAR AND TEAR
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consume an exorbitant amount of energy — accounting for nearly 40% of all energy in the United States and more than three-quarters (76%) of electricity. And HVAC systems are by far the largest single source of energy consumption in buildings, accounting for more than one-third (35%) of a building’s energy cost and three times more than lighting (11%).
Higher-rated air filters can increase the resistance to airflow. Fans that move air through the HVAC system, as a result, must work harder, which increases energy costs. The strain also taxes motors and compressors, which in turn can reduce the expected 10- to 15-year life cycle of an HVAC system.
Adding ionization helps improve the performance of existing air filters while not increasing airflow resistance. This helps with energy costs and can extend the life cycle of an HVAC system.
4. BUILDINGS ARE WHERE BUSY LIFE HAPPENS
Buildings are more than bricks and mortar. Considering that we spend 90% of our time — at work, home and play — indoors, buildings are where life happens. And they are very busy places, which makes IAQ challenging to address and solve.
Being able to improve indoor air quickly and thoroughly matters. This includes, for example, the restaurant and hospitality industries, where tables and rooms must be turned often throughout the day. This also includes other high-traffic facilities, such as schools, universities, airports and office buildings where people come and go, which as the COVID-19 pandemic showed, has significant impacts on everyone.
Third-party testing has shown that adding ionization on top of existing air filters removes airborne particle matter faster and more thoroughly.
 This third-party testing was jointly executed, and paid for, by GPS Air.
GPS Air makes every attempt to ensure that accepted industry test methods in controlled environments are used in the testing it commissions. The purpose of these tests is to isolate in these controlled conditions the impact on particulate reduction efficacy of a filter versus a filter.