Excellent indoor air quality is a crucial aspect of every healthy home. Considering that we breathe, on average, about 22,000 times in a single day, spending too much time surrounded by airborne pollutants and contaminants can be detrimental to your family’s health. In addition to you, your HVAC system’s performance and your home’s overall well-being are put at risk as well.
One simple way to help keep indoor air clean is by replacing air filters on a regular basis. Air filters trap pollutants and prevent them from circulating around your home, granting you access to the fresh and clean air that your lungs are thankful for. Learn more about the connection between air filters and indoor air quality below.
A Guide to Air Filters
Let’s start off by looking at the different types of air filters.
One important factor to consider when purchasing air filters is the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, and it measures an air filter’s ability to capture pollutants of a certain size. The MERV rating scale ranges from 0 to 20, with higher numbers equating to higher particle reduction levels. For example:
- MERV 5 traps less than 20% of air particles measuring 3-10 microns and larger.
- MERV 8 traps 70-85% of air particles measuring 3-10 microns and larger.
- MERV 12 traps 80-90% of air particles measuring 1.0-3.0 microns and larger.
- MERV 16 traps at least 95% of air particles measuring 0.3-1.0 microns and larger.
- MERV 20 traps 99.99% of air particles measuring 0.3-1.0 microns and larger.
Air filters with a 5-8 MERV rating work best for residential homes. However, if you’re prone to catching the common cold or you suffer from indoor allergies, consider an air filter with a higher MERV rating. However, please remember that a more restrictive filter causes your air conditioning unit to work harder to move the air around your house.
How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filters?
This is a question that our indoor air specialists and AC repair technicians get a lot as they visit homes throughout Pinellas Park and the surrounding areas.
How often you replace your air filter can depend on a few different factors:
- The Air Filter Type: Economic air filters are thinner and will get clogged faster than, say, a HEPA filter. Check how often to replace your specific filter and set a reminder for yourself.
- The Surrounding Climate: Where you live can have a huge impact on your air filters. In Pinellas Park, we have hot and humid summers that put our air filters through the wringer. We replace our air filters more often in the summer than in the winter.
- Owning Pets: Our furry friends leave behind tons of fur that requires constant cleaning for you and your air filter. Pet hair and dander can quickly clog air filters, so you should replace them more often.
- Having Allergies: If you suffer from allergies, changing the air filter as directed or sooner is imperative for your indoor comfort.
- HVAC Use: The higher the frequency of your HVAC usage, the more often you’ll have to replace your air filters.
The general rule of thumb is to replace regular air filters every month when your system is running constantly. High-efficiency whole-house filters can last between six months to a year.
What Air Filter Works Best for Allergies?
Allergies can take a toll on your indoor comfort if you’re not vigilant about choosing the right air filter and replacing it on a regular basis.
Air filters with higher MERV ratings provide better protection against indoor air pollution because they can trap both large and small air particles. The very best filter for allergies is an Electronic filter. These filters surpass the MERV rating scale because they are incredibly efficient at capturing particles of all sizes — and they are less restrictive than a fine mesh filter. The secret is capturing and filtering air without restricting airflow. Some electronic filters can capture almost anything and everything, from pollen and pet dander to mold and even coronaviruses.
Learn more by contacting our indoor air quality specialists in Pinellas Park and the surrounding regions.