When you think of air pollution, the first things that come to mind are factory smoke, exhaust fumes from automobiles, and the heavy clouds of smog that are often seen lingering over heavily-populated urban cities and industrial areas. However, airborne debris and contaminants such as dust, mold spores and pet dander are just as taxing on our air quality – and consequently, our respiratory systems. Whether you have an allergy or asthma sufferer in your family or require pristine air quality in your medical facility, routine HEPA filtration and HVAC system maintenance is essential to protecting the well-being and overall health of your building’s occupants.

Air Quality 101: Understanding How HEPA Filters Operate

What does HEPA stand for?

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, the acronym HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter refers to an air filter that has been tested and compliant with a specific U.S. military standard, removing microscopic particles at a 99.97% rate of efficiency. By forcing air through a fine mesh screen, these specially-engineered mechanical air filters trap airborne particulates (including harmful pollutants such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, and pollen) and prevent them from circulating back into the atmosphere. As a result, trapping these nasty toxins not only improves air quality, but may provide relief from allergies and respiratory disorders while preventing the spread of microbial illness and disease.

How do HVAC systems work?

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (more commonly referred to as HVAC) is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside, as well as circulation of air within the building itself. Without proper HVAC maintenance, your air quality will suffer and in turn, affect the inhabitants of your home, business or facility. So whether you’re a homeowner or managing a commercial property, regular and proper HVAC preventive maintenance is absolutely crucial.

How Often Do I Need To Schedule Filter Replacements?

When used in conjunction with your HVAC system, a HEPA filter is capable of capturing dirt, dust, debris, particulates and airborne germs. It is therefore critical to keep your HEPA filters clean – in order to ensure optimal performance, be sure to schedule filter and equipment maintenance on an as-needed basis. The following is a general guideline for scheduling your filter replacements:

  • Pre-filters – Six times per year
  • Bag filters – One time per year
  • HEPA filters – Once every three years

Due to certain varying factors (geographic/physical location of building, climate conditions, outdoor pollution that is introduced into the system, construction and so forth), this schedule may require adjusting which can be determined by a HVAC/IAQ Specialist. Once your technician has monitored how dirty the pre-filters are during service (along with other pertinent details specific to your building’s HVAC system), he will be able to determine the frequency of filter changes and equipment maintenance moving forward. Our team of experts will also tailor a preventative maintenance regimen suited toward your residential or commercial requirements.

Did You Know…

From major construction in your corporate office in Brooklyn to a total remodeling of your Manhattan condo, renovations result in dangerous levels of microscopic dust and debris – besides the obvious mess, it can also mess with your health if inadequately cleaned. You’ve spent valuable time and money upgrading your property – invest the same attention to detail post-reno and protect your employees or loved ones with a thorough air scrubbing, including HVAC maintenance, IAQ services and HEPA dust containment.

HEPA Hints: How To Choose The Right Air Purifier

For homeowners who are conscientious about their air quality, a HEPA filter in your air purifier is an effective solution, particularly valuable for family members who suffer from allergies and other respiratory disorders. From small children to the elderly, chronic breathing conditions can be greatly assisted by a quality HEPA filter. Most air purifiers are small in size and portable, making them ideal for single-room usage. When purchasing, be sure to purchase one that has a HEPA filter that can adequately filter your room based on its size. Choose a unit suitable for an area where you spend most of your time; for most folks, it’s the bedroom. When shopping for an air purifier with a HEPA filter, you can find a wide assortment online and in most home improvement stores.

Do HEPA Filters Really Help?

While a HEPA filtration system isn’t a cure-all for every respiratory disorder, most people have noticed an immediate difference in their allergies, sinus conditions and related breathing/respiratory disorders (including fatigue and headaches associated with such ailments) once they’ve been implemented. Because HEPA filters target floating particulates and airborne particles, your family will benefit from its air-scrubbing properties; however, dust, dirt and debris lurks in other areas of your home. Be sure to practice good housekeeping – keeping upholstered areas clean and free of dust can help eradicate dust mites and other allergens. Frequent vacuuming, replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with hard floor surfaces and area rugs, and changing bedding often are all strategies to combat dust and related irritants. There are also certain vacuum cleaners that have HEPA filters, which can provide additional deep-cleaning benefits. Refraining from smoking indoors and keeping pets off your bed can also greatly reduce allergy-inducing toxins from your environments. If you want to go a step further, you may wish to replace heavy drapes and curtains with roll-up shades. Additionally, using plastic covers on your bedding can help prevent dust mites from harboring in your pillows and mattresses. Finally, if you’re a homeowner, you might consider the benefits of high-efficiency furnace filters to reduce airborne particles in your dwelling.

Professional HEPA Cleaning Services To The Rescue

When you’re in need of proper HEPA cleaning services, leave it to the experts – at Five Star, our team of professionals specialize in HVAC and HEPA maintenance specialties, including but not limited to:

  • HEPA Dust Containment
  • HEPA Services including scrubbing air of all floating particulates
  • HVAC Preventative Maintenance
  • HVAC Duct Cleaning & Sanitizing Services
  • Indoor Air Quality Testing (IAQ)

After our initial consultation, we will create a customized cleaning service tailored to your residential or commercial property. Whether you require post-renovation dust removal or an ongoing maintenance regimen, we implement a five-tiered approach for restoring your home or office post-construction, including:

1. Dust Removal

The first phase of cleaning will entail dust removal from all surfaces, such as baseboards, floors, crown moldings, light fixtures/ceiling fans, window sills, ledges, doors, closets, furniture, appliances, counters, and cabinets (inside & out) utilizing a professional-grade HEPA filtered vacuum.

2. Air Purification

In order to provide a truly deep and thorough clean, we scrub the air of all dust, debris and particulates using commercial, state-of-the-art HEPA filtered air purifiers. Cleaning the air post-construction is especially important, as invisible particulates take weeks to settle after a remodel – if they’re not professionally eradicated, they will wind up re-contaminating your building and affecting your air quality. The science behind air scrubbing: the air purifier draws a high volume of air into the machine, trapping all airborne debris into the HEPA filters and releasing purified air back into your environment.

3. Detailed Cleaning

Next, our crew will perform the next phase of cleaning, which involves water and a proprietary hospital-grade sanitizer with a dry sponge to remove all traces of dust and debris from every conceivable surface that the HEPA-filtered vacuum may have missed. This secondary surface cleaning ensures the removal of harmful viruses and germs, as well as fine particulates left behind post-reno.

Areas to be sanitized include:

  • Bathrooms (tub, toilet, shower, floor, closets, doors and cabinets)
  • Kitchen (cabinetry, sills, appliances, moldings, doors, baseboard and floor)
  • Bedrooms, Dining Rooms, Hallways and other living areas

4. HVAC Duct & Vent Maintenance

During a renovation, your HVAC system is working overtime, drawing dust into its return vents – and if left untreated, can lead to a multitude of health problems. According to the EPA, the small particulates left behind are the biggest threat to our health – and if not treated immediately, all of the detailed cleaning will have been performed in vain, as an untreated HVAC system will simply recycle the dust into your environment. What’s more, a build-up of dirt and debris accumulated in the filters, fans and coils can clog your system resulting in a lack of efficiency, a spike in your energy usage (and higher bills), and will eventually break down. Even in cases where you haven’t done a renovation, poorly-maintained HVAC systems and neglected HEPA filters can pose a dangerous risk to your building’s inhabitants, as years of dirt and grime are being recycled back into your air supply.

5. Window Cleaning

Finally, our post-construction cleaning services include a complete and thorough window cleaning, which entails panes, window sills and all other related surfaces.

As you can see, our targeted approach provides professional techniques that go way beyond the surface – with over 25 year in the construction cleaning business, you can rest assured our HVAC, IAQ and HEPA specialty services will return your home or office to a clean you can feel confident about.

Contact one of our skilled, licensed and OSHA-certified team members today for a free consultation and discover how we can assist you.