Filters are More Important (and Expensive) than Energy!
Don’t get us wrong. Energy is really important. That’s why we transformed our 4500sqft business facility to net zero operation.
But air filters are really, really important! Your health depends on good filters. Ironically, filters transition from a health benefit to a detriment because accumulated microbes, spores, pollen, bugs and miscellaneous organic debris become breeding grounds for even nastier stuff (endotoxins, mold).
Filters need to be MERV13 or better, and filters must be changed regularly, every 3 months whether “clean looking” or not. Unfortunately, many ventilators with good air filtration are based on custom, sole-source, expensive filters. When filter cost exceeds energy cost, homeowners are reluctant to change filters as frequently as they should be changed.
The annual heating, cooling and ventilation energy cost for a multi-family building in Toronto, described in our recent newsletter article, requires 1000kWh per year for a cost of $120 (assuming 12cents per kWh) per year for heating, cooling and ventilation. Continue reading to learn how filter costs compare.
Few people ask about filter cost and whether a ventilation unit can operate with high efficiency filters (MERV 13 and 16, and HEPA). We intentionally designed the CERV2 around non-custom filters that can be obtained anywhere; the big box store down the street, online shopping, or from us. Our goal is to minimize operational costs without ever sacrificing one’s IAQ and health to “save” some BTUs. Remember, energy is conserved, but people are not. Even when we “use” energy, it doesn’t disappear. But when we sacrifice health, people disappear.
One popular ERV requires the manufacturer’s “F7” (equivalent to MERV 13) filters, available only through them. At a cost of $56 for two filters and $15 for shipping and handling for a total of $71 per filter change, an annual filter charge of $284 per year is more than double HVAC-related energy charges for an apartment in Toronto!
MERV 13 filters for the CERV2 can be purchased for as low as $8.20 per filter (no shipping fees!) for an annual filter charge of $65.60. The difference between Build Equinox filters and the above custom filters, $218, is more than enough to pay for an apartment’s HVAC utility bill. Use the remaining $98 to purchase electricity for driving your EV 3000 miles, or have a pizza party with neighbors! Regions with outdoor smoke concerns can purchase our odor-eating, carbon impregnated MERV13 filters for $10.62 per filter. You still save enough to pay HVAC-related utility bill and have a pizza party.
Do our filters work? The attached figures show a snapshot of particulates (particulate number and particulate mass per air volume) and MERV 13 filter effectiveness in Equinox House CERV2 on December 18, 2021. Notice how we need to know both “large” particulates (>0.6 microns) where “mass” is important, and “small” particulates (<0.6 microns) where the highest number of particulates occur. Our filters remove 80% of particulates across a broad particulate spectrum in a single pass (and 80% again in a second pass, 80% of the next pass, minimizing particulates of all types from your home).