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Everything You Need To Know About Air Filters

HVAC Alliance Experts

Air Filters: You Can’t Afford to Ignore Them

The primary function of air filters is to keep the air in your home clean. Therefore, many homeowners consider their air filters essential components for the excellent health of their families. However, some people do not know much about how the air filters delivered into their homes work or factors that determine their efficiency. 

 

MERV Rating

MERV is an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value. This is a rating for how efficient an HVAC system is at blocking particulates including debris from entering your home. Air filters with high MERV ratings are high quality and can filter much smaller particles. 

Typical MERV ratings range between 1 and 20. Air filters with low ratings are only efficient at removing large dust particles and may not help improve the air quality in your home. Air filters with MERV ratings of 20 are usually found in medical facilities and other institutions where air quality is of utmost importance. 

A typical residential HVAC system will have a MERV 13 air filter. Most residential heating and cooling systems are not compatible with MERV 20 filters. 

When shopping for cheap air filters, it is essential to understand that some filters use different rating systems. Some brands provide a list of all the particulates the air filter could capture. However, even such systems usually have stickers on their packaging that give information on the filter’s MERV rating. Use the MERV rating to determine the right air filter for you. 

 

Where to Install the Filter

The air filters are usually located in the return vents of your HVAC system. Many homes in the U.S. have between one and three return vents. However, the number of return vents in your home is determined by the square footage of your house. Some homes have more than three return vents. 

Pay careful attention next time your HVAC system is on. The return vent usually does not blow air out when the HVAC is on. Instead, they suck air through, which you can feel by placing your hands close to the vents. 

Washable Air Filters

Most washable air filters use static electricity to trap particulates in the air. As more homeowners become aware of the effects of their HVAC systems on the environment, many are increasingly looking for eco-friendly custom air filters. Washable air filters are environmentally friendly and durable. 

On the downside, washable air filters are not as efficient in removing tiny particulates that may trigger asthma and allergies. It is difficult to get a washable air filter with a high MERV rating. Also, you may probably find it an inconvenience to find time out of your busy schedule to wash your air filter regularly. Many homeowners prefer air filters that they can pull out and replace with a new one. In any case, it is essential to choose air filters that fit your lifestyle. 

Homeowners who want to use more eco-friendly air filters have the option of buying disposable filters with electrostatic charges. However, consider purchasing electrostatic air filters with high MERV ratings. 

Air Quality

Two main substances affect indoor or outdoor air quality: particles and gases. Some of the particles that affect indoor air quality include pet dander, dust, and pests. On the other hand, gases, such as smoke, chemical fumes, and carbon monoxide can also affect indoor air quality. These substances may cause various reactions some of which can be life-threatening. 

Outdoor air quality is also affected by various factors, including ash, construction dust, grasses, tree pollen, and outdoor allergens. Both indoor and outdoor particulates cause allergies, aggravate asthma and cause other health conditions. 

Effects of Air Filters on Air Quality

HVAC air filters improve indoor air quality by trapping dust and particulates and preventing them from reaching the rest of your house. They minimize the chances of irritants spreading to the rest of your home where they can be inhaled. 

Air filters effectively remove allergens from the air that could trigger various health complications, including asthma. They help you and your family to breathe easier by trapping irritants that pass through your ventilation system. 

Benefits of Air Filters vs. Costs

Air filters have different ratings. High-quality filters are usually more expensive than low-grade filters. The benefits of air filters typically outweigh the costs especially for people who have allergies and other respiratory complications. 

Considering the costs of emergency treatment, medical examination, and medication for respiratory problems, air filters are great investments. If you or your children have respiratory issues, the cost of buying air filters every few months is much lower than the cost of treating the health complications associated with inhaling particulates. 

Air filters will not prevent you or your family from getting sick, but they will minimize the chances of respiratory complications and other health disorders. 

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