Most people ignore the importance of regularly changing the air filters. Sometimes they do it to save a few bucks, and other times it is out of sheer ignorance. No matter the precise reason, this little mistake is bound to make you feel sorry sooner rather than later. Do keep in mind that every HVAC system component has a precise role to play, and so does the air filter. Your assumption that it is not important will not make it so. Instead of running on notions and suppositions, let us learn how air filters and allergies are related.
What Are Air Filters?
Air filters are a vital component of every heating and cooling system. In appearance, they resemble a big cardboard box or carton. The air filter comprises spun fiberglass or even pleated cloth and paper, which is encased in a cardboard frame.
The air filters are tasked with the crucial activity of trapping the contaminants suspended in the air passing through it. Usually, the air indoors is laden with dust, dirt, dander, pollen, VOCs, germs, bacteria, viruses, mold, and lint. All of these pollutants can cause illness and allergies.
How do Air Filters work?
The work of air filters is to filter the air. When the indoor air is brought to the HVAC system, it passes through the air filter. Most impurities get trapped and are removed from circulation. The air that goes back indoors has a better air quality index than what went into the heating and cooling system.
All Air Filters Are Not The Same
There are different types of air filters available in the market. Not all of them are the same. They usually differ in efficiency level. The higher the efficiency level, the more contaminants and particulates it removes. MERV rating or the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is used to indicate the performance index of the air filter. A higher MERV rating signifies higher efficiency in trapping the air pollutants. The standard MERV rating varies between 1 to 16.
Filters having MERV values between 1 to 4 are simple and will provide basic air filtration. Those between 6 to 8 MERV are slightly better and more suited for cleaning the air in homes. If you desire better efficiency, you can always opt for air filters having MERV between 9 to 12. But, the best ones are those which have a MERV value between 13 to 16.
You Cannot Use Air Filters On Whim
Not just any air filter will do for your heating and cooling system. Buying a higher MERV filter only to find out it is not supported by the HVAC system will be a wastage of time, money, and effort. To eliminate such mistakes, always check the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can find this information both online and on the label that is stuck to the unit. Do not ever exceed the recommended MERV, as this will put the unit under undue strain by restricting airflow. It will only cause further complications.
Air Filters And Allergies
Allergens don’t have a specific size. Nevertheless, air filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 11 will give you 90% efficiency, so they are best suited for homes. 12 to 16 MERV is for those closed spaces where you need absolute cleanliness.
1. Standard Paper Filters Will Not Do – The standard paper air filters are designed to catch big-sized particulate matter like dust, dirt, and debris. They are not very effective in capturing allergens because of their small size. If you want to get rid of allergens irrespective of their size, it is best to use a HEPA filter (High-Energy Particulate Air filter). These filters are made from tightly packed sheets of glass fibers. Their efficiency is as high as 99 percent in trapping dust, pollen, and other particulates in your breathing space.
2. Change The Air Filter Frequently – Air filters need to be replaced frequently, preferably monthly, but no more than a quarter. As the filters remove the pollutants from circulation, they become dirty. After becoming filthy, they may start releasing the trapped contaminants into the passing air. Hence, instead of making the air clean, dirty filters will make the air dirtier, and dirty air means a higher concentration of allergens. Therefore, follow a routine where you swap the used air filters with new ones every month or every quarter.
3. Cleanliness Of Air Filters Alone Is Not Enough – If you were thinking air filters alone will give you good indoor air quality, you are highly mistaken. Though the filters are directly responsible for cleaning the air, there are other aspects related to it as well. For example, keeping the HVAC unit clean. The air that passes through the air filters moves inside the heating and cooling system. If its components like the fan, blower, evaporator coil, etc., are dirty, the circulating air will again pick up the particulate matter and become unclean and unhygienic. Therefore, every homeowner should keep the exterior of the HVAC system clean by regular dusting and also schedule its timely maintenance so that the inside also gets a thorough cleaning.
Which Air Filters Are Best To Contain Allergens?
In a typical household where the residents do not have any known history of allergies, a MERV 8 filter will suffice. Nonetheless, if anyone in your home is known to suffer from allergies, it is better to get at least a MERV 10 filter. HEPA air filters are the best, but sadly, not all residential HVAC systems are compatible with them.
In The End
The cleaner your HVAC air filters, the better is the indoor air quality. When you swap them out regularly, you rule out the chances of severe allergic reactions. Replacing the air filters is a simple task that can be accomplished by the homeowners also. All you need to do is ensure that the replacement you buy falls within the same parameters as the HVAC manufacturer suggests.
Aztil Air Conditioning is a reputed West Palm Beach-based HVAC contractor dedicated to solving all your HVAC troubles. Whenever you have a doubt or a concern, you can call us. In fact, we also do HVAC inspections, installations, repairs, and maintenance in addition to air duct cleaning and offering air quality solutions. If you desire any of these services, reach out to us at +1-888-729-8452. We are available 24/7 and assure you of prompt action. Do not hesitate, pick up the phone and call us now.