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Hillsborough Schools upgrades its air filters, we looked at other districts' systems

MERV 13 filters are recommended by the CDC as students return to the classroom. Here are the districts that do, and do not, use them.

TAMPA, Fla. — When students in Hillsborough go back to class, there will be an upgraded air filter system on all campuses. 

Hillsborough County Schools announced it's upgrading the air filters on all campuses to a MERV 13 rating.

These MERV 13 filters are recommended by the CDC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Wednesday at Lomax Elementary, we got to see one of these filters being installed. 

Superintendent Addison Davis says in addition to the filters, engineers will assess indoor air quality, ventilation, temperature, humidity, mechanical systems and domestic water.

They are also assessing indoor air quality along with C-O-2 sensor accuracy and exhaust fan operations. 

This is all to stop the spread of the virus. 

"Our job is to get the yes. We work every single day to go through every avenue to be able to get access, so we will continue to do so. We're not going to take no for an answer. There's many providers out there. And we're going to have a full court press along the way and we won't stop until we continue to create the best environment we can."

More than half of the schools will be converted to MERV 13 filters by Aug. 24, with full installation in all schools set for completion by Oct. 1.

We reached out to every district in our area about what kind of filtration system each has. 

Citrus County has 8 MERV rating filters, which is hospital rated filtration systems.

Hernando does not use this specific filtration. Right now the district is installing an air filtration system in all schools clinics.

Manatee County does not have any MERV 13 filtration or higher HVAC systems in the school district.

Pinellas is in the process of upgrading filters to a Camfil Dual 9-9-A filter, which was recommended to the district because they performed better than the MERV 13 filters over time with the “Fine Particle Efficiency” (0.4 micron) and can be retrofitted in virtually all of our units. The district currently uses MERV 13 and MERV 11 final filters for many other air handling units (AHU’s) that were designed to house this size filter.  These AHU’s will also be retrofitted with the Dual 9 filters in addition to the MERV 11 and 13 to enhance unit filtration efficiency without sacrificing comfort. The district’s standard is a MERV 8 pre-filter and a MERV 11 final filter. We are in the process of replacing the MERV 8 filters still in use which is a district standard with the Camfil Dual 9.

In Pasco, one school has the MERV 13 filters. In the others, it has changed the schedule for changing air filters, doubling the frequency. 

Polk County uses them in just over 400 buildings.

We are still waiting to hear back from other districts. 

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