What is the Best Air Filter for My Home?
The indoor air quality (IAQ) of your home can be affected by many things. Pets, the number of residents, the square footage of your space, and several other factors all make a difference. But why should you care about your home’s indoor air quality? Does it really make that much of an impact?
The short answer is yes. Poor indoor air quality can cause several unpleasant side effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. Poor air quality can lead to heart conditions, lung disease, or even cancer in extreme cases.On top of its effects on your health, your home’s air quality can also affect your performance ability. Studies have shown that poorly maintained indoor spaces and air pollution can be detrimental to academic performance, a person’s ability to focus, work performance, and overall efficiency.
So what can you do to improve your home’s IAQ? There are a few things you could try, but one easy way is to make sure your air ducts have the best filters available and that they get changed on a routine basis.
How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?
The frequency with which you need to change your air filters will vary based on the factors listed above, but in general, it’s best to change your home’s filters monthly. If you don’t change your air filter frequently enough, its ability to capture harmful particles will decline, and it won’t be able to clean the air as efficiently as it did when first installed. Once it cannot adequately capture large particles, they will just make their way into your HVAC system and your air’s circulation.
Routinely changing your air filter also ensures that your HVAC system can run more efficiently, which means your system will last longer and you will save on energy bills. It’s definitely worth setting a reminder in your calendar to complete this task monthly!
How Do I Select the Best Air Filter?
When selecting the best air filter, remember that everyone’s needs are different, so no air filter can be the objectively best option. To figure out which filter is best for you, you have to figure out what exactly it is that you’re trying to filter out of your air.
Typically, people with allergies are the most affected by poor air quality. If you have allergies to any specific allergen particles, start by looking for a filter designed to target those. The most common allergens that filters target are mold, pollen, pet dander, and dust.
Air Filter Ratings
Almost all filters are graded using a measurement called their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (more commonly referred to as a MERV rating). MERV ratings are used to indicate to consumers how effectively certain air filters can stop and capture different contaminants and particles.
You’ll need to find and understand the MERV rating of whichever filter you’re considering buying to make sure you get the best one for you. Below is a brief list of what each MERV rating is best designed to handle.
- Dust: MERV 1-4
- Pollen, Dust Mites, and/or Mold Spores: MERV 5-8
- VOCs: Typically MERV 8-16
- Bacteria: Typically MERV 13-17
- Viruses: MERV 15-20
What about HEPA filters?
Using a true High-Efficiency Particulate Air HEPA filter in a residential HVAC setting is rare and not recommended. HEPA filters generate a lot of air resistance, and your system would have to be modified in order to work correctly with a HEPA air filter. To be considered a true HEPA filter, it must remove 99.97% of harmful particles from the air with a size of 0.3 micrometers. Many filters are labeled “HEPA-like,” “HEPA-style,” “HEPA-type,” or “99% HEPA,” but they are not true HEPA filters. The good news is that the EPA reports findings that indicate HVAC filters with a MERV rating of 7-13 are nearly as effective as HEPA filters. So when choosing a filter for your HVAC system, try to find one with a higher MERV rating to filter out more particulates.
Clean air ducts are an important factor in indoor air quality, too. Here at AdvantaClean, we are air duct cleaning experts, and we would love to help you improve your indoor air quality. If it’s been years since your last air duct cleaning, contact AdvantaClean today to schedule an appointment.