NEWS RELEASE                                                                                    December 2021

HVAC Filter Markets Shaped by Cost Perceptions

The importance of indoor air quality has risen greatly with COVID and now the Omicron variant.  Demand for higher efficiency air filters has taxed suppliers. Questions relative to expansion are necessarily based on the course of the disease and technology developments. McIlvaine is continually seeking knowledge relative to HVAC filters in order to predict the markets. Sources include conferences, publications and insights from researchers on every continent.

Tyler Smith of Johnson Controls was a speaker at a recent WFI conference where he emphasized rating HVAC performance compared to outdoor air. This performance based  evaluation was the reason Bob Burkhead, a filter testing company CEO invested in a recirculating room system which tests performance over time.

Cleanroom experts have a unique perspective. They would say “why not rate performance compared to an ISO 9 cleanroom. This definition is precise in terms of the number of allowable particles of various sizes.

The semiconductor industry has unique insights. They require air 100 times cleaner than a pharmaceutical facility and 500,000 times cleaner than typical ambient air.

There are two magazines and two upcoming exhibitions where substantial insights will be gained. The exhibitions are

  • Filtech slated for Cologne, Germany March 8-10. There are 450 exhibitors making it the largest display for HVAC filters and media.
  • FILTXPO will be held in Miami, FL March 29-30. At previous events McIlvaine has prepared route maps to allow people to arrange visits to booths and speeches. One on HVAC filters is now in preparation.
  • Filtration and Separation has a very powerful article retrieval system with 163 articles on HVAC.
  • International Filtration News (IFN) is a publication of INDA. McIlvaine has written a true cost column in every issue in the last several years.

The article in the July 2021 issue is on a decision guide to HVAC filters

This guide relies on information from previous issues. There is a link to a summary McIlvaine prepared of past HVAC articles.

This summary has an abstract and a link to each article in IFN. There is also the following  takeaway by McIlvaine.  

  • Lowest total cost of ownership needs to include the total cleanliness effect on the space. It will be cumulative and can involve multiple filters.
  • The deterioration in the electrostatic charge over time is a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) factor which is debated based on time and dust loading as well as specific media characteristics.
  • Recognizing when a prefilter is required and equally important, when you can go without one, is a key to improving your TCO.
  • A database of energy costs in each country and in major regions of the U.S. would be very beneficial. This could be a uniform basis for determination of cost of ownership.
  • The balance between pressure drops and dust-loading capacities must be considered, assuming the filters are similarly priced.
  • Some of the same Lowest Total Cost of Ownership (LTCO) advantages for nanofibers in mobility applications can also be the case for stationary HVAC applications.
  • Are the LTCO factors for cabin air also valid for HVAC Filters?
  • Low pressure drop and no fiber shedding. This is important for cleanrooms but how important is fiber shedding in HVAC?
  • The Well Health Safety Seal assigns a value to life quality in the total cost of ownership. QELD developed by McIlvaine is a unique metric for better determining life quality impacts.
  • The cost of upgrading filters can include major system modifications.
  • Perceived life quality is improved with HEPA HVAC filters. If the installation costs and energy consumption are low, then the higher first cost is not significant.
  • In the future greater weight will be placed on the negative costs of air filter ownership (life quality benefits which offset costs).
  • Lowest total cost of ownership can be achieved by a filter supplier who provides sensors and a solution for the life of the filter instead of just offering the filter.
  • How useful is the MERV-A rating in LTCO evaluations?
  • Electrostatic charging methods differ. This impacts both the variety of media which can be charged and the effectiveness.
  • Improvements in melt blown and other media need to be continually assessed.
  • Can nanofibers offer superior efficiency while comparing in durability and energy consumption?

As can be seen from these articles there are many factors to consider in filter selection.  The best decision today may not be the best one tomorrow as variables such as new virus variations and technology improvements develop.

The magazines and conferences are an invaluable resource for decision making. The challenge is to make the information accessible and utilized.  

The main goal for the Mcilvaine Company is to fully understand the TCO factors in each niche in order to make market forecasts.  However, unless the end user also relies on the same TCO factors as McIlvaine, the forecasts will be inaccurate. 

Therefore McIlvaine will continue to collaborate with the media to establish a common set of TCO factors in each niche. There are 1000s of such air, water, energy niches. Information establishing common TCO factors in a number of niches is shown on the Holistic Marketing Program page at

More information on specific reports is found under “Markets” at the top of

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His cell is 847 226 2391