Is The MERV Rating for An Air Filter Important for Allergies?

Filters Fast MERV 11 Air and Furnace Filter

Air filters remove airborne allergens and pollutants such as dust, mold, pollen, pet dander and bacteria from your indoor air. There is a vast array of air filters with different levels of measurement for determining the concentration of different particle sizes, usually by weight or count. This measurement of performance for air filters is called Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (or a MERV rating). MERV ratings come from ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 52.2: Method of Testing General Ventilation Air Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size.

ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, accredits and ensures that the characteristics and performance of products are consistent with terms, definitions and testing of products. ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, develops standards for its members and other professionals involved with refrigeration processes and the maintenance and design of indoor environments.

 A MERV rating is based on three composite, average removal efficiency points for particles. Categories range from 1 (very low) to 16 (very high). The higher the rating, the more efficient your air filter will help to reduce indoor airborne allergens, pollutants and contaminants.

 MERV 1 to 4 filters provides minimal filtration. These filters have to be replaced quite frequently and are typically disposable fiberglass or synthetic panel filters within a cardboard frame. These filters capture up to 80% of airborne particles as small as 10 microns. MERV 5 to 8 filters are good for capturing dust and mold spores. These filters have to be replaced, depending on usage, every 3 months. MERV 8 replacement air filters  will reduce pollen, pet dander, dust and other contaminants as small as 3.0 microns.

 MERV 9 to 12 furnace air filters capture up to 95% of airborne particles and contaminants like pollen, dust mites and mold spores, as small as 1.0 microns. These filters come in a deep pleated, boxed media or bag filters, which are some of the most efficient filters used in homes and commercial buildings.

 MERV 13 to 16 air filters will trap up to 98% of airborne allergens and pollutants such as bacteria, tobacco smoke, cooking oil and droplet nuclei, as small as 0.3 microns. Filtration should be applied to process both return and outside air that is delivered as supply air.  Finding the best-rated air filter for your particular need or application will help to keep your air clean and fresh. Don’t forget to change your air filter as recommended and especially when you change your clocks to Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time.

Improve Your Office Indoor Air Quality!

Do you work in office building? Chances are that you do, and chances are that you suffer from poor indoor air quality. With allergens, pollen and mold spores making their way into your office building, it is important to learn the easy ways you can improve the air that you breathe for most of the day.

Indoor air quality has a significant effect on your ability to breathe clearly at work. Poor indoor air quality can increase your risk of illness and lead to serious health problems. Fixing and maintaining good office indoor air quality involves many factors, including, “Maintaining good indoor air quality requires attention to the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system;” as the EPA outlined, it also includes, “the design and layout of the space; and pollutant source management.” (EPA.gov). Here are easy steps you and your office can take, to improve your office air quality:

1)      Do not block air vents: Make sure that your HVAC systems vents are clear from boxes or other materials to ensure that you are getting clean, filtered air throughout the entire office

2)      Be aware of furniture spacing: If possible, keep copiers, fax machines, desks and other office equipment away from the HVAC system.  This can restrict air flow and can also cause the HVAC to release too much cool air.

3)      Purchase air purifiers: If you did not take part in the planning of your building, chances are that there is not adequate ventilation in all areas. This will cause unpleasant smells in the air, which contributes to a poor indoor air quality. An air purifier will remove odors, particles, smoke, smog, and other contaminants from the air you and your coworkers breathe all day.

4)      Clean up water spills ASAP: spilled water and wet areas can lead to the growth of mold, mildew and other bacterial spores. This will get into the air that breathe and can cause health problems. If your office feels particularly “damp”, consider using a dehumidifier.

5)      Change filters regularly: If management doesn’t do so already, let them know the importance of changing air filters every 3 to 6 months. For ease, you can purchase a convenient 6 pack of air filters in whatever size you need that will last you the entire year!

With this fall promising to be one of the worst for allergies, it is important to do your best to create a healthy work environment. The 5 simple steps outlined above will keep your office air as clean as possible. This will prevent you from developing respiratory problems and help keep your allergies at bay.

Using Humidifiers to Treat Your Child’s Cold

According to the Mayo Clinic website, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that parents avoid using cough and cold medicines to treat children younger than age 2.” Potential drawbacks to using these medicines include possible side effects such as rapid heart rate and convulsions, and the fact that cold medicines mask present symptoms. Also, cold medicines don’t treat the underlying symptoms, so giving them to your child won’t make their cold go away any sooner.

All this begs the question: what can you do for a child’s cold? The old standbys seem to work the best: plenty of rest and fluids, cough drops to soothe a sore throat, and moistening nasal passages. One method for moistening these passages is running a cool mist humidifier. Filters Fast offers a wide variety of cool mist humidifiers to help comfort your child when they’re sick.

Here are some tips for operating cool mist humidifiers from Crane:

  • Use clean, cool water
  • Place your humidifier on waterproof surface approximately 3 feet off the ground
  • Keep your humidifier out of corners and away from walls
  • Adjust your humidifier so that it sprays up into the air, not down to the ground
  • Use a few capfuls of white vinegar and a half tub of warm water to clean

Your cool mist humidifier can be run year round to keep your family healthy and happy. Optimum humidity level in the home is 40-50% relative humidity.

Crane also states on their website that you could be eligible for a tax deduction if you doctor recommends using a cool mist humidifier primarily for medical reasons.

It’s difficult to see children suffer when they have a cold, but using these “comfort” measures, including the use of a cool mist humidifier, can make them more comfortable while they’re on the mend.