Do Air Filters Work?
Air filters are probably one of the most talked about components within heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) circles. Every HVAC system requires some sort of filtration device, and hundreds of companies produce replacement filters.
With all this talk, as well as in this current COVID-19 pandemic situation, you may be wondering whether air filters work. The short answer to this question is yes, air filters work. But you need to have a specific goal of air filtration and match the appropriate type of filter to your needs.
Our Sutton Brothers team of professionals wants you help you make the best decision for your Kernersville home and family, so here are some things you should know to select the right filter for the job.
What Is an Air Filter?
Air filters are typically made from a spun fiberglass material or pleated fabric or paper. Most are commonly enclosed within a cardboard frame and disposable, although there are some HVAC systems that have washable filters. It’s important to consult your manufacturer’s instructions regarding the frequency of filter changes, but most disposable filters should be replaced every three months.
Air filters are designed to remove different particles from the air. The quality and cost of air filters vary greatly, and it’s necessary to understand the levels of filtration provided.
What Is MERV?
According to the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA), the common system or overall reporting value for rating air filters is known as the Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV), which is expressed on a 1-to-16-point scale. Generally, the higher the MERV rating, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it, making it more efficient.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) created the MERV rating scale to represent a filter’s worst performance at removing particles in the air that are measured at 0.3 to 10.0 microns.
Air filters are typically categorized into three major groups. Filters with a grade of 1 to 4 are inexpensive, low-efficiency filters designed to protect your HVAC system alone. They do very little to improve your indoor air quality.
Those air filters with a MERV rating of between 5 and 13 are categorized as medium efficiency and do a good job removing a wide range of style to larger particles. These may include some mold spores, pet dander, and some viruses and bacteria. Most residential air filters are rated at MERV 7 to 12.
High-efficiency filters are usually rated between 14 and 16 and can remove particles that are 0.3 micron or larger. These filters are typically what you would find in a hospital.
How Can Air Filters Improve Indoor Air Quality?
If you choose to use a medium- to high-grade efficiency air filter in your Kernersville home, you will be somewhat successful in removing particles that are common allergens for many people. Although air filters can’t remove all air particulates, air filters can remove many irritating allergens. Be sure to consult with one of our indoor air quality experts to find the best filter for your needs.
The benefits of air filtration may be most evident for people who suffer from respiratory conditions, allergies, asthma, or other similar ailments.
What Particles Are in the Air?
A wide range of particles and gases can be present in both indoor and outdoor air. Inhaling these particles and gases can cause you to experience discomfort or even illness. Over time, some of these can be more detrimental to your overall health.
Every North Carolina home contains dust, dust mites, and dirt from daily living. Pollen, mold, fungus, fibers, lint, pet dander and hair, bacteria, and viruses can also be present inside your home.
Additionally, dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide and radon, along with smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, can pollute your air. Fumes from cooking as well as off-gassing from things like paint, new carpet, and household cleaners can add to indoor air quality problems.
What Role Do Air Filters Play in an Overall System?
Being sure you replace your air filters every three months is only one step of ensuring your HVAC system is working efficiently and effectively.
Another important step is to have a professional inspection, cleaning, and tune-up of your air conditioner and furnace at least twice a year. By having an HVAC expert come in and check your system, you will help ensure quality performance from your HVAC system. You will also stay compliant with your manufacturer’s warranty.
As far as air quality, air filters are only one part of the equation. It’s essential to regularly clean and vacuum your home using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum bag.
You may also want to consider additional air purification systems to tackle specific air pollutants you are concerned about. For example, systems that use ultraviolet (UV) lights are effective against viruses and bacteria while carbon filters do a good job with odors and chemicals.
Contact Us About Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Our professionals at Sutton Brothers here in Kernersville, NC, can answer any additional questions you may have about air filters. Our trained team would be happy to discuss air filters, air quality, HVAC products and services, and even plumbing. Call us at 336-390-3902 or request service online today.