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Air filters are still a grudge purchase, says Camfil

Company official discusses misconceptions related to filter maintenance and the state of the air treatment market across the Middle East

| | May 24, 2020 | 9:22 am
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Nodirjon Rasulov

DUBAI, UAE, 24 May 2020: Air treatment is crucial in the Middle East region, but it is still early to say that it’s in the growth trajectory, said Nodirjon Rasulov, IAQ specialist & Business Development Manager, who emphasised that indoor air quality (IAQ) is still a luxury for many and that there are fewer standards and authority regulations that govern it. “The moment IAQ is considered to be a necessity, then we can say that air treatment is in the growth trajectory in the market,” he said. “However, our market is mostly driven by commercial aspects compromising quality of the supplied products.” Talking about air filters, Rasulov said: “It is still a grudge purchase. There are too many misconceptions related to filter maintenance.”

Elaborating on the misconceptions, Rasulov said many stakeholders believe in cleaning a pre-filter that is meant to be disposed. “Cleaning not only reduces the efficiency by disturbing the fibre orientation but also increases the pressure drop and consumes unnecessary manpower and utilities,” he said. “There are also hygienic issues associated with it. The filters are always compared to the initial cost, but other costs associated with it are never taken into consideration, such as the energy cost, disposal, labour, etc.”

Rasulov pointed out that filters contribute to the second largest pressure drop in air-handling units. “By selecting energy-rated filter, a minimum of 15-20% energy bill of a building can be saved, which is a huge saving compared to the five per cent increase in the standard filter cost,” he said. “Moreover, another widely practiced procedure is to accept the delivery of HEPA filters without the proper leak-scanning certificate. The client should make it mandatory to ask for the performance certificate as per the relevant standards at the time of HEPA filter delivery.”

Rasulov added that many clients also follow a procedure in replacing HEPA filters every six month. “Such practices come from a completely ignorant market, and this is building up a huge financial burden to the customers,” he said. “HEPA filters are to be replaced only when they reach their final pressure drop or when an integrity test fails at the site; otherwise, it is still good to continue to use installed filters.”

Rasulov sad that in due course, growth of air filters market can be seen in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, depending on the project announced. “But again, we should not only emphasise the quality and standard of the specs,” he said. “If we have to talk about growth then it should be on the basis of quality of product that goes in air treatment equipment.” However, in terms of which sector is expected to drive the most demand, Rasulov said, the healthcare sector will contribute to a large number of requirements, as the current situation with COVID-19 might be a time to introspect the lack of proper designs in the healthcare industry. “If there was a learning curve during the COVID crisis then we expect a growth in healthcare industry,” he said, adding that hospitality and other industries have started focusing on indoor air quality issues, as well, but that the interest is typically limited to basic air filtration rather than IAQ.

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