MERV vs. Motors

ECM expert Chris Mohalley joins the podcast to talk about the balance between selecting air filtration and motor performance, also known as “MERV vs. Motors.”

As the industry realizes that filtration is more important, we're starting to see an interest in filters with MERV ratings of 13 or higher. However, there are some design challenges associated with static pressure drops across filters, motor responses to static pressure, and airflow. If the airflow isn't set properly, that could affect the refrigerant charge and temperature rise.

PSC motors' performance directly follows the load; as static pressure increases, the airflow rate produced by the motor decreases. They may also make loud noises when the static pressure is high but satisfactory airflow. However, they are robust and don't typically fail quickly due to high static pressure.

Electrically commutated motors (ECMs) are operated by electronic controls and come in constant torque or constant airflow varieties. The former has a performance curve (like a PSC motor) but doesn't appear to suffer from longevity issues when the static pressure is high; the latter can adjust airflow based on static pressure, but it is likely to have issues maintaining airflow during high static pressure conditions. Regardless, there is still an operational envelope; going outside of that envelope will likely result in a capacity and/or efficiency hit if there is high static pressure.

Chris and Bryan also discuss:

  • COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of filtration
  • Face velocity across filters
  • Amps in constant torque vs constant airflow motors
  • Swings in airflow/performance
  • Educating the customer about “upgrading” filters
  • Using performance manuals

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