21 January 2015

Why Using Quality Air Filters in Your Home is Essential


Why Quality Air Filters are Essential

If you live in a home built in the past thirty or so years, you may have a problem with indoor air quality. A major emphasis was placed on making homes more airtight and free of drafts after the energy crisis of the 70s. As a result, the EPA tells us many homes have indoor air that is three to six times more polluted than outdoor air, even in major industrial cities.

The health hazards from indoor pollutants are quite serious, and these new conditions are blamed in large part for the dramatic increase in asthma in children. The pollutants in the average home include:

• Dust and particulates
• Pollen
• Mold spores
• Pet dander
• Smoke
• Mites
• Bacteria
• Fibers

These contaminants remain in the home and tend to gather in the lungs of occupants over time. The average adult will breathe in more than 11,000 liters, or 388 cubic feet, of air each day, allowing a large quantity of pollutants to enter the body. These factors combine to make attention to your home air purifying systems a major priority.

Home and office HVAC systems are built with basic filters to primarily protect the equipment. However, you can have additional air filters added to your system at affordable prices. There are also a number of quality portable units that will effectively clean the air in spaces where they are utilized.

Whatever your choice for filtering systems, they all rely on the actual filters to do the job of removing pollutants. Filters come in all prices and levels of quality, and are made to be replaced or cleaned regularly. Fortunately, there is a way to evaluate the basic effectiveness of any filter you choose. For example, if you buy a 3M air filter because your value the brand, you still need to understand its MERV rating.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers developed the MERV scale to rate a given filter’s ability to remove particles from the air. They built the range based on sizes of .3 to 10 microns, and this is the range that presents the greatest health hazard. The MERV scale ranges from 1-16, with the better filters having the higher number. Most homes can be kept reasonably safe with filters in the 7 to 12 range, while hospitals focus on those with at least 13 and all the way to 16 ratings.

There is a balance in selecting an efficient filter with maintaining good air flow. Ironically, the more effective a filter, the quicker it gets dirty, and the greater the problem it presents if not regularly cleaned and/or replaced.

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