When it gets to the months of spring, the quality of your indoor air becomes worse compared to your outdoor air, possibly made worse by pollution. This necessitates the installation of air filter in your home. But not all of them are as effective as you might think. So are electronic air cleaners worth it?
Yes, the HVAC system will not be enough to combat pollutants coming in. Those filters are actually meant to guard the inner components of your system, instead of indoor air. However, that also does not mean that it has no effects on the indoor air. Your air quality will improve as long as you change the filter after every three months at least (during off-peak months) or once every month (during peak-use months). This prevents clogging and debris being trapped in the system.
Instead of going this route, though, it is even better to install an electronic filter system. You might wonder whether this purchase even makes sense, but the truth is that it is more beneficial than you might think – eventually restoring cleanliness, both in your air conditioning and heating systems.
How Do Air Filters Work?
Air filters generally work in the same way, but use different power sources to accomplish their goals. This, in turn, determines their effectiveness. They remove microscopic particles and dust from your home. Because of this, they are always recommended if you want to have cleaner air in your home. They’re particularly useful if you have people in the house that suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma.
Rather than getting very deep into the scientific details, the important thing to know is that the breathable particles in air are eliminated by these filters. There are also some electronic filters that have several layers of filters, and you can even use them in single rooms. Some can filter out the large particles like dust, while another can filter smaller particles like gases, odors and so on.
In addition, there are systems that you can use for your entire home, which will clear the air from pollutants and allergens. These are mainly through specialized units, which HVAC systems already have. Rather than having separate filters that take care of each room in your home, these filters will take care of the air throughout the home. They are also likely to add humidifiers. This can help if you have people that struggle with sinus, dry eyes or allergy problems.
The Function Of Air Filters
All air filters are usually comprised of pleated cloth, paper, or spun fiberglass material, which is bound inside a frame made from cardboard. They are capable of trapping numerous contaminants that could otherwise enter your home, such as:
- Mold spores and mold
- Dirt and dust
- Microorganisms and bacteria
- Lint and fibers
- Animal fur and hair
- Particles from wood, plaster and metal
The filtration happens when the machine distributes air, then brings it in the HVAC system to condition and re-distribute it. It forces the air through itself, then the material components will remove all particulate matter, as well as additional contaminants.
Not all filters will cleanse your air with the same efficiency, as we noted before in the article. You can know the extent of efficiency through using the MERV rating, also known as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.
The standard MERV rating runs from 1 to 16, with 16 indicating the best filters and 1 indicating the lowest functioning filters. As a general guide, the rating goes as:
- MERV 1 to 4 – these are the most common filters. They have a standard structure, and will give you basic protection and air filtration, at a low cost on your end.
- MERV 6 to 8 – the level of filtration is good, and you will likely find them in a residential area. They have a better surface area for capturing contaminants, due to the filter being comprised of paper or pleated cloth.
- MERV 9 to 12 – relatively high quality filters, and are considered as mid-range. They can also trap very small contaminants of at least 1 micron in diameter.
- MERV 13 to 16 – these are the best standard filters you can get, and are very high in efficiency ratings. They are also capable of trapping very small particulate matter, at least 0.3 microns in diameter.
Keep in mind that it is possible to find filters that have MERV ratings of higher than 16. But these are unsuitable for many residential settings, as they can interfere with airflow due to their density and thickness. They will also interfere with the effectiveness of your cooling and heating systems, and eventually lead to damage of the HVAC system through disturbing the airflow.
You can also install separate air purification and filtration units in the HVAC system, as they will provide superior quality of air through the use of high-grade filters. In case you are unsure, check in with your trusted HVAC service provider, and they will advise you on whether an air purification system is compatible for your house.
Why It Is Important To Maintain Your Air Filters
You cannot afford to leave your system unattended. Otherwise, it will risk long-term damage and disrepair due to the accumulation of dirt and debris. The lack of care will eventually lead to several problems, which include:
- Poor energy efficiency in the HVAC system, which results in higher energy bills
- The accumulation of contaminants in the ductwork of your HVAC system
- They can damage your cooling and heating equipment, as well as lead to malfunctions in the HVAC system
- The internal fans that clean up your air become worn out due to clogging
- It will begin to release contaminants into your home because it cannot remove particulate matter effectively
In the long term, it is better to install an electronic air filter instead of using older filtration systems in the home. You will reduce the possibility of developing health problems, and the home will remain cleaner for longer because of the reduction of dirt and dust coming in.