A Simple Guide to Home Air Filtration
In this guide:
- Why Is Clean Indoor Air Important?
- Types of Furnace
- Standard Panel
Fiberglass AC Filters
- Pleated Furnace
Air Conditioning Filters
- HEPA Filters
- Electronic Air
- All About MERV
- Air Purifiers
- Other Tips for Good
Indoor Air Quality
Is Clean Indoor Air Important?
spend the majority of their time indoors. The health risk associated
with indoor air pollution is a serious concern. There are many factors
that may contribute to poor indoor air quality. Furnishings, carpets
and even walls can house allergens, dirt, dust, mold and smoke.
Breathing in these pollutants daily can lead to asthma and other
respiratory problems, and may even increase one's risk for heart
disease. Indoor air pollution in the work place has been known to cause
"sick building syndrome." In order to avoid the health risks associated
with poor indoor air quality, it is important to take steps to ensure
the air inside your home is free from viruses, bacteria, allergens and
disease-carrying particles. The first step is to install good, quality
furnace filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning
of Furnace Filters
There are several different
types of air conditioning filters, or
furnace filters. Generally, the
higher quality air filters will be more expensive, but they are worth
the investment, when you consider the costs you will save on the
maintenance and repair of your HVAC system. Here are the basic types of
AC filters you can purchase:
may opt for reusable air filters for a number of reasons. It sounds
like an attractive deal, since the cost on disposable filters can add
up. However, these filters are generally not as efficient at removing
unwanted contaminants from your indoor air. Not to mention, the
cleaning process is a dirty and time-consuming ordeal. You must find a
suitable area for cleaning, remove the filter and rinse it with water
or a suitable cleaner. Often these cleaners may contain toxic
chemicals, which can be absorbed by the filter and recirculated through
your indoor air once your filter is replaced in the system. You must
also make sure the filter is dry, before replacing it, as a wet filter
can introduce mold into your indoor air, causing further health
hazards. The only upside to purchasing a reusable filter is the
reduction of environmental waste. If your goal is environmental
sustainability, you may opt for a washable air filter instead of a
disposable one. However, if your primary goal is to ensure a healthy
environment for you and your family, the hassle of cleaning these
furnace filters may not be worth the risk, as these are not as
efficient as some other, disposable options. Filters Fast does not
carry any reusable or washable air filters for your HVAC system.
Panel Fiberglass AC Filters
Fiberglass air filters are marketed as a cheaper option to other air
they are not only inexpensive; they are also of cheap quality. They let
in large particles and pet hair, which stick to the coils in your HVAC
system, decreasing its efficiency over time. Furthermore, these filters
are made with fiberglass media, housed in a rigid panel, which begins
to degrade soon after being inserted into your heating and cooling
fiberglass may then end up in your system and ultimately in your
indoor air, subjecting you to further health risks. For more
information on how a fiberglass filter can end up costing you thousands
in HVAC maintenance and repair costs, check out our Premium $2,000 Fiberglass Air Filter.
furnace filters are a significant upgrade in quality from the standard
flat fiberglass air filters. These are typically made of a woven
polyester fabric-like material, which is tight enough to filter out
much smaller particles. Like fiberglass filters, the media is housed
inside a rigid panel, but is pleated to provide a much larger surface
area for filtration. As a result, these furnace filters are more
efficient at cleaning your indoor air than the previous two types,
ultimately extending the efficiency and life of your HVAC system.
Air Conditioning Filters
AC filters are also made of pleated material, but are even more
efficient than regular pleated air filters, because the filter media is
electrically charged. It, therefore, acts as a magnet, drawing more
particulate matter for more efficient indoor air filtration. These
filters also inihibt the growth of bacteria, which is a problem common
to many other types of filters. Filters Fast carries a variety of
electrostatic furnace filters made by popular
manufacturers like 3M Filtrete.
HEPA filters are typically for use in
external air purifiers, which you can purchase to purify the air inside
individual rooms of your home. HEPA stands for high efficiency
particulate air, and these are some of the most efficient filters you
can buy. These advanced air filters are able to trap 99.97 percent of
contaminants including pet dander, dust and smoke.
air filters function much like electrostatic filters, but are
effective. They are able to trap up to 95 percent of airborne
contaminants. These are usually recommended for people with allergies,
sinus and respiratory problems. Electronic air cleaners mount directly
to the duct work in your HVAC system, so that recirculated air passes
through. A fan pulls larger particles like pet hair and lint into
the mesh prefilter. Then a high-voltage ionizer charges airborne
contaminants like bacteria and viruses, causing them to stick to the
collection plate, preventing them from being recirculated through your
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency
Reporting Value, and is a rating scale used to rate the effciency of
air filters. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the
rating, the more efficient the filter will be at reducing indoor air
contaminants. Higher MERV values correspond to a greater percentage of
particles being captured each time air moves through your heating and
Standard panel filters typically have a MERV
rating of 1 to 4, and are not efficient at capturing smaller particles.
These filters will not capture anything smaller than 10 microns.
Pleated filters typically have a MERV rating of 5 to 8 and will capture
particles as small as 3 microns in size.
electrostatic furnace filters range from MERV 9 to 12 and are some of
the most efficient HVAC filters for residential use.
efficient filters have a MERV rating of 13 to 16 and will capture
particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters are most often found
in hospitals and other commercial sanitary environments. HEPA
fall under this category.
Filters Fast recommends investing in a variety of clean air solutions for your home,
especially if you have pets or a high sensitivity to allergens.
External air purifiers,
combined with quality air filtration in your heating and cooling
system, can help to ensure cleaner air for you and your loved ones. Air
purifier systems may be purchased for small or large rooms, and are
highly recommended for nurseries and children's rooms, since they are
more prone to sickness. These typically use HEPA filtration, and are
effective at capturing tiny particles like pollen, dust, mold spores,
dust mite debris, pet dander, bacteria-carrying particles,
virus-carrying particles, smoke and more. Most air purifiers have
several fan speeds allowing you to personalize the sound and filtration
levels to suit your needs. It is best to purchase an air purifier that
does not generate harmful ozone.
helps to supply indoor moisture in the home, to assist with breathing
and prevent dry skin, chapped lips, nasal congestion, cough, sinus
irritation, and other problems associated with low humidity. These are
also recommended for use in children's rooms. It is important to keep
the humidity in your home at an optimal level (between 40 and 50
percent) for good indoor air quality. Too much moisture can lead to
mold problems, and too little moisture can cause respiratory and skin
irritation. Below 50 percent is recommended to help control dust mites
for bad allergy sufferers.
Tips for Good Indoor Air Quality
addition to investing in quality air filters, air purifiers and
humidifiers, and cleaning and changing your filters on a regular basis,
there are several other ways to help keep the indoor air in your home
free from unwanted contaminants:
1. Invest in eco-friendly
furnishings. These may be more expensive, but worth the investment, as
many wood furnishings emit formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.
Pressed wood, coated with a polyurethane finish, will not emit toxins
into your indoor air. Hardwood floors are also better than wall-to-wall
carpet. Carpet easily traps dust mites and other allergens. Invest in
draperies and floor tiles that do not contain asbestos and are
2. Use natural, eco-friendly cleaning
products. Popular cleaning products often contain carcinogenic
chemicals. Vinegar, baking soda and lemon are homemade solutions and
can clean almost any kitchen surface naturally, without the risk of
breathing in toxins. Non-toxic cleaning products are also available to
buy at the store.
3. Clean, vacuum and dust consistently. Filters Fast carries HEPA vacuum cleaner filters,
bags and belts. Replacing these items regularly helps to ensure a
cleaner indoor environment while extending the life of your vacuum
cleaner. Dusting helps rid your home of dust mites and other allergens
4. Use the hood vent above your stove, while
cooking. Most people neglect this, but it makes a world of difference,
as it works to eliminate smoke and cooking odors from the air inside
your kitchen. Also make sure you clean and change the microwave and hood range filters
5. Leave shower doors and curtains open after showering, to
prevent mildew and mold growth.
6. Burn candles sparingly, if at all; use non-toxic
deodorizers, and don't smoke inside the house.
7. Maintain optimal temperature and humidity with a programmable thermostat.
8. Get your home tested for radon.
9. Avoid lead-based paint.
10. Wash all bedding in hot water, once a week.
Take our Home Indoor Air Quality Quiz now
to determine the overall state of your indoor air.