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components, such as condenser and evaporator coils, become clogged up with debris. To compensate for this reduction of airflow, compressor motors are required to work harder and can use more energy. In fact, a study carried out by Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the largest US-based gas and electric utility companies, suggests that compressor energy consumption can increase by up to 30% if condenser coils become soiled.

In his book, Troubleshooting and Servicing Modern Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems, Professor John Tomczyk, from Michigan’s Ferris State University, states: “When the coil becomes fouled with dirt and grime, it cannot provide complete or adequate heat transfer, a process that was predicated on a clean coil. The equipment's compressor senses this, and tries to overcome it by going to a higher system pressure. This consumes greater levels of electricity.”

types of airborne debris. By creating a static charge that attracts and traps airborne particulates, the air intake screens prevent sensitive components such as evaporators and cooling and condenser coils from contamination, without restricting airflow through the equipment.

“In severe cases, airflow restriction can cause internal icing, external compressor failure and total loss of cooling.”

Supplied by RAB Specialist Engineering, PreVent air intake screens have been used extensively throughout the US for more than nine years by customers including Starbucks, Harvard Law School and Motorola. Manufactured by US firm Permatron, the filters are designed to catch airborne debris before it can enter a HVAC system. With over 50 years’ experience in providing custom air filter products,

Permatron is now supplying the UK market through RAB Specialist Engineers.

Higher operating pressures and temperatures will occur if air- handling equipment is required to use more energy and operate for longer cycle times in order to maintain normal operating levels. In this situation, internal lubricants may also break down, shortening the life expectancy of the compressor motor and other HVAC components.

In severe cases, airflow restriction can cause internal icing, external compressor failure and total loss of cooling. Compressor replacement is the most expensive repair on any HVAC system, therefore, preventative measure should be taken to avoid this.

AIR INTAKE FILTER SCREENS Fitting external air intake filter

screens to existing and new HVAC systems will help prevent expensive repairs. Air intake filter screens work by protecting existing pre- filtration devices, and also those areas where traditional filters are not practical, such as chillers or cooling tower fill ponds, from various

The screens are available in two formats; a three-dimensional tight weave polypropylene media, designed to catch smaller particles such as insects, pollen and construction dust, or a PVC-coated polyester high abrasion media for larger debris such as leaves, paper and plastic shopping bags. Customised to fit any shape or size of HVAC system, the PreVent screens come with a five-year warranty and are available with several different fixing methods including Velcro, magnetic framework and self- tapping screws.

COST SAVINGS With reduced maintenance schedules

and repair costs, RAB Specialist Engineers estimates that the filter screens will pay for themselves in less than two years. Inefficient HVAC systems will increase the cost of heating or cooling a building. Fitting air intake filter screens is an effective way to help prolong the life of new and existing HVAC equipment and deliver significant long-term cost savings. TOMORROW’S FM | 35

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