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ISO16890 Filter Classification. Why Should Hospital Engineers Care?

Australian Standard AS 1324 is the current air filter testing standard used in general ventilation/air-conditioning. This standard gives us our current filter gradings of G1-G4 and F5-F9. The problem with the current Australian standard is the inaccurate method of testing filters with a ± 15% allowance for particle capture and no consideration given to electrostatic charges on the filter which can wear off over time. Independent testing of filters using the AS1324 has shown filtration performance between 10% and 30% below that claimed on the label.

The new ISO 16890 testing series is far more accurate in its filter classification and tests a range of particulate sizes typically encountered in the real world (0.3µm, 1µm, 2.5µm and 10µm). The standard also tests filters with an electrostatic charge and without an electrostatic charge and splits the difference between the filtration results. Filters selected using the ISO16890 series will provide greater assurance in managing the concentration of particulates and pathogens in the indoor environment. Hospitals in areas with good outdoor air are recommended to use ePM1 60% filters (equivalent to F7), while those with poorer outdoor air conditions should consider higher-rated filters.

It is expected that AS/ISO16890 will be released by Standards Australia before the end of 2023 and will apply a 2-year sunset provision for AS 1324.

To view a recent IHEA conversation on the subject, pls see link below.

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