Now, don’t let this headline mislead you. Your HVAC system requires an air filter in order to protect sensitive components, such as the evaporator coil, from exposure to dust and dirt particles. However, these air filters have little to do with the overall indoor air quality in your home.
You may not have realized that a separate class of air filters exists and, if you or your family members have allergies and asthma problems, they might be just the thing to make all the difference. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about these kinds of air filters.
What Kind of Air Filters Are out There?
Many types. But to make it simpler to understand, air filters are categorized by their MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles and contaminants it will keep out. The MERV scale goes from 1 to 16.
So with that being said, it seems like everyone should get a filter as high on the MERV scale as they can afford, right? Of course, it’s not that easy. As the MERV rating increases, the better they are at trapping smaller particles—meaning that the filter is so fine that even air has a hard time getting through. This is a direct damper on efficiency.
Only facilities that are required to use high MERV rating filters will use them (and can afford to), such as in inpatient care rooms, surgical rooms, and other places where preventing contamination is of the utmost concern.
For the rest of us, a range from 5 to 8 is best. These filters are usually enough to block out the offenders that rile up allergy and asthma symptoms.
Which Ones Can Be Used the Most?
So, you may be wondering, which air filter will last the longest? Having to change them all the time can be a pain.
In truth, the lifespan of a filter depends on factors inside the home, not on the quality of the air filter itself. To name a few examples:
- The number of people in the home.
- How sensitive those people are to indoor pollutants.
- How many pets are in the home, if any.
- The outdoor environment (Do you live near a construction site? In a dusty area?)
In the best case scenario, you might not have to change your filter for an entire year. In a full house with pets and allergies, however, you may need to replace your air filter every 30 to 45 days.
Will an Air Filter Fix All of My Problems?
While air filtration is key to reducing indoor contaminants, it’s certainly not the only indoor air quality initiative you can take. We recommend scheduling an appointment with an indoor air quality expert in Delaware, DE to have your air tested.
You might be surprised to find, for example, that controlling humidity levels might be the key to improving your air quality issues. Alternatively, it might make sense to install recovery ventilators, so that you can introduce more fresh air into your home.
A thorough inspection of the home can reveal these possibilities to you, thus giving you more options for how to proceed.