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Iceland Volcano Ash and Air Conditioning

Iceland Volcano Ash and Air Conditioning
James Ford
April 19, 2010

The recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland has left aircraft grounded across Europe over fears that particulates in the ash cloud could damage aircraft engines. As increasing evidence is found of this ash now falling to earth, the World Health Organisation has now warned people with breathing difficulties to remain indoors.

Over the last few days we have now received concerns from customers who are worried about their air movement equipment in offices, data centres, and leisure complexes. If there is an increase in airbourne particulates it is likely that they will be drawn into air conditioning systems and could pose issues for coils, fans, heat recovery heat transfers, and other fragile components.

Most Supply Air Systems have two levels of filtration ensuring a breathable quality of air is achieved. Pre filters such as G3 Glass Panels filters, or G4 Pleated Panel Filters are used to remove large particulates, and secondary filtration is commonly achieved by High Performance Bag Filters, which remove finer particulates.

The majority of any airborne ash particulate being drawn into an air supply system should be captured by the pre filters with any residual particles being collected by the secondary filters. If there is a significant increase in airborne particulate, air filter life could drastically reduce resulting in loss of airflow, or additional strain on the fan resulting in reduced energy efficiency.

To our clients we advising not to be too concerned at present, but should the volcanic eruption continue for a significant period of time, or if the evidence of falling ash particles continues to increase, you may need to make a filter change sooner than your regular maintenance. To be able to monitor filter performance you may find fitting a magnehelic gauge or an inclined manometer may help.

For more advice or to discuss an emergency filter change, please contact us.

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