Let’s Get Ready to RRRRumble: Portable Air Filter Vs HVAC Fresh Air Filtration – Performance Comparison Test

Recently, at a client’s request, we pitted a Portable Air Filter against our custom-made HVAC Fresh Air Filtration System. In the one corner, we have the air purifier tested, a Blueair 403. And in the other corner, we have an in-duct mounted unit built into a pre-existing Heating  Ventilation and Air Conditioning System, a custom HVAC Fresh Air Filtration Sytem.

The two filtration systems were tested in terms of PM2.5 removal rate (effectiveness) during a given time span (efficiency) in identical adjacent classrooms of 40m2.

The match off was far from blow for blow, after a quick round 1, the HVAC Fresh Air Filtration System quickly took the lead in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. I would go as far as to say this was a knockout – the data speaks for itself.

Below are the graphically represented results and the conclusions you can draw from this testing:

HVAC vs Purifier

Key Takeaways:

  1. With windows and doors closed in class room 2, the custom-made HVAC filtration system was running on highest speed for one hour, and the PM2.5 reading was recorded at 3ug/m3 in the room (98% reduction); With windows and doors closed in class room 1, Blueair 403 was running on highest speed for one hour, and PM2.5 reading was recorded at 25ug/m3 in the room (80% reduction). The testing results indicate both systems are effective at reducing particulate levels. However, by comparison the custom-made HVAC air filtration system proved to be more effective on the reduction.
  2. The test result also shows the custom-made HVAC air filtration system was able to lower the PM2.5 level much more rapidly than the Blueair 403, and therefore, more efficient. Within the first 20 minutes, PM2.5 level in class room 2 decreased from 95 ug/m3 to 18 ug/m3 (81% reduction); While the level in class room 1 decreased from 113 ug/m3 to 71 ug/m3 (37% reduction).
  3. The chart shows Blueair 403 was filtering the particulates in a gradual fashion, while the custom-made HVAC air filtration system did much more quickly and then kept the PM2.5 level very low stably during the rest of the test.
  4. The PM2.5 reading was 5ug/m3 at the outlet of the Blueair 403, and was 0.49 ug/m3 at the outlet of the custom-made HVAC air filtration system. This suggests though both systems performed well at the points of maximum filtration, the performance of the custom-made system was more impressive.
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Let’s Get Ready to RRRRumble: Portable Air Filter Vs HVAC Fresh Air Filtration – Performance Comparison Test

  1. Keala says:

    If I have an customized AHU with pm 2.5 filters, will the filters HEPA rated? How does the filter works, is it fibers, or ozone generators or some other techinques?
    Thank you ahead!

  2. Richard Saint Cyr MD says:

    Interesting! So…how did you design your HVAC filter, does another blog post discuss that?

    • Louie Cheng says:

      Hi Dr. Saint Cyr — we’ve developed the in-ceiling filter unit with Daikin, the HVAC manufacturer. It’s essentially a high quality purifier without any of the pretty outside — just a very powerful fan and an effective high quality filter. Interestingly, we found that although the filter layer itself is not better than HEPA (which is in the portable), the results were far better (8x lower). The reason is due to the higher CFM and air exchanges. The more passes through the filter, obviously the cleaner. One of the biggest problems we see in residential is that the filters are emplaced in an area where air is not going to flow too much to it, or the speed is not high enough to achieve as many air exchanges.

      Next up: we’re working on air monitoring that will let you know exactly how all your air cleaners are doing in your home or office and good your indoor air quality really is. Stay tuned!

      Louie

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