Heating and air conditioning can be…well, complex. Want to know one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your air quality? The answer: simply by using air filters.
Originally, filters were built into HVAC systems to keep the moving parts of the furnace free of dust and debris. But, fast forward to today, and air filters are primarily used to improve the quality of the air that flows through your home.
Air filters are the top way to regularly and consistently eliminate mold, pollen, spores and other contaminants throughout your home or living area. Good air filters keep your home cleaner and they keep you and your family healthier (1, 2)!
The Top Reasons to Improve Your Air Filtration
The benefits of air filtration are clear. But when do we know if we need to take a look at the air quality in our home?
Air filters are especially important to analyze your system and to add to your system if any of the following factors are true for you:
- There is construction near your house, or major yard work taken place. Both of those can greatly increase the amount of dust (and other materials in the air) that are going through your system.
- You have a pet that sheds (and, well, they almost all do, except fish).
- Someone in your household has asthma or allergies—this could be a new problem or this could be an ongoing problem for this person. If it’s a new problem, it can especially signal you are having air quality issues in the home. If it’s an existing problem, you know that person is extra sensitive to particles in the air, so you want to take extra measures to be sure this person is healthy and comfortable in the home.
- You have a newborn, and want to give the baby extra protection against allergies or asthma. We know if you have a newborn (or any young children) you would want to provide the highest quality air possible for their health (3).
Now that you know when you might need an air filter upgrade, what else should you know about air filters? There’s a lot to know, but one the main things you want to know are the two types of filters.
- Mechanical air filters. As you might have guessed, these are filters that operate without electricity. You can think of them as filters that “trap” particles in their “web” so that those harmful air materials and particles aren’t in the air anymore. Mechanical filters are meant to capture larger particles.
- Electrostatic air filters. Do these sound a bit more advanced? In some ways, they are. These systems use electricity to create static fields that attract and capture the smallest particles. In many homes, this might be a more effective kind of air filters because of how it can get even the smallest particles in the air (2).
You can see how both kinds of filters can serve a separate purpose and can help clean the air in our homes or in our workplaces. That’s part of why most modern air filtration systems include both kinds of filters, so that you have the most effective and efficient way of keeping your air particle- and contaminant-free! Ask us if you have more questions about your specific system.
“What’s All This I’m Hearing About the MERV Rating System?”
The MERV rating system is simply an industry-standard system that ranks the quality and efficiency of different kids of filters. You can think of it as a way to make sure standards are met and kept high for air filtration.
The range of ratings is 1-20, where the higher the rating, the better the filter. Systems rated 1-12 are the most common for homes today. The system you choose is a trade-off between MERV rating and cost, in most cases (3). As always, ask us when you have questions so that you can find the perfect fit for your family.
The one thing you don’t want to forget, no matter your brand or kind of air filter is that the cleaner the filters, the more particles they catch. That means the cleaner the air filter, the more efficiently the HVAC system runs in your home. That, in turn, saves you energy costs as well as improves your air quality. According to the Department of Energy, the difference between dirty, clogged filters and clean filters can be 5-15 percent of your energy costs (4).
Call the Experts at Greater Comfort
Modern air filters come in a wide variety of materials, systems and quality. Your experts at Greater Comfort can help you select the best one for your family’s needs. We can also help you learn how to change your filter and give you recommendations on which filter would be best for your household. Remember that we’ve installed, maintained and repaired more than 25,000 HVAC systems in our 28-year history. Give the experts at Greater Comfort a call today at 859-491-4915 for all your AC needs.