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Cottonwood Filter Screens - Video Overview

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Pulley Mount Filter Screen In Action

Click the questions below to see the answers.

Are the filter screens made from window screen, pet screen, shade screen or some other commercially available mesh?

NO!, cottonwood filter screens are NOT made from window screen, pet screen, shade screen or other commercially available mesh because these materials are too restrictive and aren't designed to accommodate the technical air movement requirements of HVAC mechanical equipment - Use of these materials can result in damage to your fan motors, compressors and void equipment warranties. However, Cottonwood Filter Screens are specifically engineered for use on mechanical equipment and their use flys in the face of long time conventional wisdom that you don't cover air intake openings - This wisdom still applies to commercially available screen mesh and other incompatible materials.

Air Solution Company spent several years testing hundreds of commercially available mesh for both filtration and air movement compatibility and when unable to find a commercially available mesh that provides the needed balance of the two, set-out to develop a filter which provides a balance in filtration and air flow and is compatible with the full range of mechanical equipment. Now, with 20 years of experience manufacturing Cottonwood Filter Screens and with hundreds of thousands of filters in use, our Cottonwood Filter Screens are compatible with all mechanical equipment ranging from small condensers to large air handling units, air cooled chillers and cooling towers.

Don't be fooled by local canvas shops and bug screen companies claiming to be able to provide HVAC compatible mesh; They don't understand the technical side of HVAC air movement through the mesh products they work with in production of back yard enclosures, awnings, boat covers etc. If it were that simple, everyone would have been using commercially available mesh on their equipment for years. Important - Not all screen mesh is equal and you can get into trouble very quickly if you use an incompatible mesh. Even if you hold our cottonwood filter screens next to a visually similar mesh please note that the product isn't the same because there is much, much more to ensuring compatibility than simply being visibly similar.

Are Cottonwood Filter Screens Compatible With my Equipment?

Cottonwood Filter Screens have a long track record of success (Approx. 20 years) with nearly all recognizable brands of mechanical equipment – this includes use on the full range of equipment from small residential condenser units up to commercial and industrial air handling units, air cooled chillers and condensers, evaporative condenser units and cooling towers.

How will Cottonwood Filter Screens impact my equipment Warranty?

Because Air Solution Company paid attention to the airflow and static pressure dynamics during the development of its HVAC Compatible Mesh, use of Cottonwood Filter Screens have never been the cause of any voiding of any equipment warranties. In fact, Air Solution Company Manufactures Cottonwood Filter Screens as an OEM part for many OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers).

What impact do Cottonwood Filter Screens have on my high efficiency air cooled condenser / chiller units?

To provide greater cooling efficiency, many OEM’s have concentrated on refrigerants and condenser coil technologies to achieve heat rejection efficiency never seen before. High efficiency coils known as “Micro Channels” increase the density of coil fins while expanding the heat rejection surface area to enable rapid heat rejection - but if the coils aren’t protected from airborne matter (insects, cottonwood seed, pollen, leaves, etc), then these systems tend to foul faster then non-micro fin systems as a function of the fins being closer together and trapping more debris between them. When this occurs, the high efficiency equipment will not deliver the promise of greater operational efficiencies and lower energy cost. Use of the filter screens simply relocate the location for fouling so they can be cleaned significantly faster and easier so your high efficiency equipment can deliver the promise of higher efficiency.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself that if you mount cottonwood filter screens over the coil, they will foul out just like the coils – well that is true, however, the big difference is that because the filters are easily accessible and the debris is on the surface of the filter, they are quick and easy to clean; and because of that, they can be cleaned as needed versus during scheduled maintenance cycles; whereas if you didn’t use the filters and allowed the coils to become clogged between maintenance cycles - it will take you significantly more time and effort using power washers and chemicals to clean the condenser coils. Using cottonwood filter screens can reduce maintenance time & effort by up to 75%, because all that is needed for cleaning is a broom, brush, shop vacuum or garden hose – even the rain can rinse them clean. Best of all, they don’t require removal for cleaning.

What Regions of the US are Most Susceptible to Hail?

Hail occurs commonly in the central and north central US (Colorado, Illinois , Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North & South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming) and less frequently in other regions, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming usually have the most hail storms. The area where these three states meet is known as "hail alley"; This area averages seven to nine hail days per year. The reason why this area gets so much hail is that the freezing levels (the area of the atmosphere at 32 degrees or less) in the high plains are much closer to the ground than they are at sea level, where hail has plenty of time to melt before reaching the ground.

Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice.

There are two ideas about hail formation. In the past, the prevailing thought was that hailstones grow by colliding with super cooled water drops. Super cooled water will freeze on contact with ice crystals, frozen rain drops, dust or some other nuclei. Thunderstorms that have a strong updraft keep lifting the hailstones up to the top of the cloud where they encounter more super cooled water and continue to grow. The hail falls when the thunderstorm's updraft can no longer support the weight of the ice or the updraft weakens. The stronger the updraft the larger the hailstone can grow.
Source: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Wikipedia

How long have air intake filters been in use?

Air Solution Company is the inventor of the Cottonwood Air Intake Filter Technology. The first air intake filter was produced for use on a process cooling tower for one of the big three auto companies in 1992. Since the original development, Air Solution Company has introduced the first cottonwood filter for condenser coils and rooftop units. Today, Air Solution Company is the leading producer of air intake filters for high velocity / high volume HVAC systems offering a variety of efficient fastening systems for every application.

What effect do Cottonwood Filter Screens have on static pressure and the performance of my equipment?

The static pressure impact of a Cottonwood Filter Screen is directly related to the volume & velocity of air passing through it; and since this can vary from one make and model of equipment to the next – static pressure will also vary as the air velocity changes. This being said, when using the cottonwood filter screens on mechanical equipment, the static pressure impact will typically be well below 1/10” w.g. but will vary depending upon the actual air velocity moving into the equipment.

When Air Intake Filters were originally developed, they were independently tested by The Midwest Research Institute (a CTI - Cooling Tower Institute certified testing agency) to insure that the filter we brought to market provided a balance between filtration performance and low impact on static pressure. All testing was conducted using AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association) standards. Additionally, the filter screens have been tested by an independent testing laboratory recognized by NAFA (National Air Filtration Association).

Is it possible to use window screen or other commercially available mesh screening and accomplish the same filtration performance?

Using any mesh product can quickly get you into trouble because not all mesh is created equal. Many factors go into producing a mesh filter that will work on high volume / high velocity air-flow systems without causing an unacceptable drop in static pressure, and potentially resulting in the voiding of equipment warranties. Using the wrong mesh will reduce equipment efficiency and shorten the life of the equipment.

Commercially available mesh isn't designed to provide the necessary balance of filtration performance and high velocity air-flow and unlike the smooth easy to clean surface engineered into our Air Intake Filters, window screen and other mesh typically have rough and difficult to clean surfaces.

Important Note: Filter media approved for use on low velocity systems, usually don't work (without an unacceptable drop in static pressure) in high volume / high velocity applications such as cooling towers, chiller & condenser coils, air handling units and louvers.

How strong are air intake filters after they have been installed?

Air intake filters are specifically designed for strength and durability to withstand the extremes of outdoor exposure. The filter mesh is designed to withstand several hundreds of pounds of pressure and can withstand the rigors of commercial and industrial cleaning and handling. Although not scientifically tested, several large stud adapter filters mounted to cooling towers in Palm Beach Florida, survived hurricane Jeanne with no damage to the filters; each filter withstood sustained winds of 90 mph and wind gusts exceeding that. Filters continued to perform, keeping debris out of the cooling towers during the storm.

Are Air Intake Filters available from local distributors?

Yes, Air Solution Company has a network of qualified distributors marketing the product. Please contact Air Solution Company for a distributor nearest you.

Are Air Intake Filters Cost Effective?

Yes. Air Intake Filters are highly cost effective, especially when compared to your annual cost for maintenance, downtime and lost productivity due to system fouling. When weighing the cost of air intake filters, it is important to remember that the filters will last for up to 15 yrs. If you conservatively annualize the cost of the filters over 10 years, your annualized cost will almost invariably be outweighed by your annual maintenance, downtime, lost productivity and replacement parts cost due to system fouling and clogging. Further, if you amortize the cost over as little as 1 – 5 yrs, you will almost always realize a cost saving.

What is the benefit of using Air Intake Filters vs. water filtration systems?

There are several benefits to using Air Intake Filtration over water filtration systems. First of all, when you use a water filtration system it will only help you manage the debris that has been drawn into your cooling water. Secondly, because the water filter surface area is so much smaller than air intake filters, you are required to clean the filters with greater frequency and if you don’t have bypass capability that means shutting down your system. Furthermore, when using water filtration systems, they do nothing to protect the fill material and to keep the debris from getting into the cooling tower. Additionally, when comparing the cost of water vs. air intake filtration, water filtration systems are almost invariably more expensive.

Air Intake Filters are specifically designed to filter the air before it gets into your system thus protecting both fill and cooling water in the first place.

How Long Do Air Intake Filters Last?

Air Intake Filters are highly durable and will provide up to 15 years of service.

What is the difference between the Pulley-Mount and Snap-lock Air Intake Filters?

The Pulley-Mount Filter is specifically designed for medium to large air intake openings and comes partially assembled inside of a galvanized storage container that mounts on or below the unit. When fully assembled, the filter raises and lowers in and out of the storage box using a pulley and rope. In contrast, the Snap-Lock Filter is designed for small and medium size openings and come equipped with snap saddles that mount around the outer edge of the air intake opening. Filters then snap onto the mounted snap saddles.

Can Air Intake Filters be installed on any type of air intake opening?

Yes, Air Intake Filters are specifically built to the exact size and dimension of your specific equipment. Filters can be of any shape and size.

Can Air Intake Filters help fight algae and bacteria growth?

Yes. Air Intake Filters are highly effective at helping to reduce bio- activity in cooling towers. The reason for it’s effectiveness is two-fold. First, by stopping organic debris from being drawn into the tower, the nutrient source that supports bacterial proliferation is eliminated. Secondly, because air intake filters diffuse sunlight, it thwarts the algae growth that depends upon sunlight for photosynthesis and growth. In the absence of sunlight, algae cannot proliferate.

Are Air Intake Filters easy to install?

Yes. Both the Pulley-Mount and Stud Adapter Filters are easy to install. On large applications such as large in-ground field erected cooling towers, special framing and support is required to support the filters. However, on individual filter requirements, all of the needed installation hardware is included with the filter. Further, two people can easily mount air intake filters.

When is the best time of year to use Air Intake Filters?

Spring Summer and Fall are typically the best times of year to use Air Intake Filters. However, the need is best defined by the ambient conditions in your region. During Spring and summer cottonwood seed, dandelion seed and insects are typically problematic for cooling towers, condensers, chiller coils and air handling units. In the fall, insects, leaves and harvest debris are problematic. However, man-made debris that gets into the air may be a problem that requires filtration year round (eg., paper mills, fiber board plants).

Special Note: Some regions of the country experience the 13 year and 17 year Cicadas that can have devastating effect on cooling towers and other high volume air intake systems. This large insect emerges in thirteen and twelve year cycles during the summer (usually July and August depending upon region) and can literally foul and plug all cooling towers and air handling systems in the region where they emerge. If next year is the year in your region, then investing in air intake filtration can save you literally thousands of dollars in downtime and maintenance cost. Click Here For Cicada Details.


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