Are you struggling with allergies? Are you left wondering how to keep the air clean in your home? Your indoor air quality might be the culprit. Protecting your family from harsh allergens and respiratory issues is easier than you think.
Choosing the proper air filter for your home and equipment is the first step to improving your indoor air quality and extending your equipment’s life. By trapping key pollutants in your air filter, you can slow down and even stop them from circulating throughout your home and, consequently, from breathing them in.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and exists to help consumers determine which filter is best for their family by providing information on what pollutants will be trapped within each rating. MERV ratings are from 1-20, 1 being the minimum and 20 being the maximum at filtering contaminants. The higher the rating, the more effective the filter is at catching particles.
If you plan to use a filter rated MERV 5 or higher, even if you’re using UV Light filters, you must have the equipment and duct system evaluated and an assessment concluded to make certain that the filter’s airflow restriction will accommodate your systems and not wear them down. This evaluation process is called an HVAC Audit and includes an equipment sizing and airflow needed assessment as well as measuring static pressure, all to ensure your equipment’s longevity.
Fiberglass Filters, MERV 1-4
Out of all the filters, these are the most inexpensive and least likely to protect you from harsh pollutants. They can be very convenient since they’re disposable after about 90 days or once they become visibly dirty. But, if you’re looking for higher air quality for your home, fiberglass filters may not be the best option for your and your family.
Fiberglass filters are designed to protect your equipment and not assist in cleaning your air but catching only larger materials. So, you will still be exposed to those harsh micro-viruses and bacteria in the air.
Washable Filters, MERV 1-4
Washable filters have a higher upfront cost but are washable and reusable. They’re very easy to work with since you just wash or change the filters out every 90 days or once they are visibly dirty. Just make sure that your filters are completely dry after washing them before putting the filter back in because moist filters can produce bacteria. Washable filters also have a low rating because they are made to protect your HVAC systems but not improve your home’s air quality.
Standard Pleated Filters, MERV 5-12
Pleated filters are made of folded fabric, usually polyester or cotton, and are relatively low cost for what they are. The pleated fabric allows for more surface area to catch a number of particles, from pet dander and mold spores to dust and mites.
Media Pleated Filters, MERV 13+
These media filters, made out of thick pleated fabric and a metal grid, have a higher MERV rating and a higher price than standard pleated filters. You’ll change these filters out less often and can recycle most brands, or you can purchase washable media pleated filters to reuse. These filters are great for any household with pets or inhabitants with respiratory problems as they catch tiny contaminants.
UV Light Filters, No MERV Rating
These have become rather popular since the start of the COVID pandemic as UV light kills small particle pollutants like bacteria, viruses, and mold. While seemingly superior to a traditional filter, these are relatively expensive and can be challenging to install. UV Light filters do not catch debris or irritants like smoke and provide almost no protection to your HVAC systems. If you decide to use UV Light filters in your HVAC system, then you must also install one of the aforementioned filters to protect your HVAC system and improve your home’s air quality.
There is no MERV rating for UV Light filters. MERV is a consumer standard rating based on a filter’s ability to capture tiny particles, whereas a UV light filter disinfects. It should also be noted that ongoing studies are being conducted on their effectiveness and safety in residential homes pertaining to oxygen possibly being converted to ozone and the safety issues this may cause.
HEPA Filters, MERV 17-20
High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters aim to capture 99.7% of contaminants like airborne particles, mold, dust, smoke, and pollen. Due to the strength of these filters, they are not typically used in a residential environment as they can be very restrictive to airflow, causing your equipment to work overtime and shorten their lifespan. You’d usually find HEPA filters in large HVAC systems like hospitals or commercial airline airplanes.
Minnick’s HVAC Maintenance
At Minnick’s, we are passionate about providing high-quality service and establishing the highest air quality in your homes. Schedule an Indoor Air Quality checkup to ensure the air in your home is safe to breathe. Schedule an appointment with us to get your systems back on track.
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