Having clean air in your home is important for the health of your family. The most efficient way to filter household air is through your home's forced-air heating or central air-conditioning system. Do you know how to choose the best filter for your home?
The filters are built into the return-air duct work, trapping particles as air passes through. These systems are passive; as long as the fan is running, they are constantly filtering all the air in your home.
Whole-house filters come in four main types. Understanding the ratings of air filters can help you decide which is best for your home and your family.
Filters are rated on a scale using MERV. This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. lt rates the filter on how well it can catch particles in your home’s air.
The higher the Merv rating, the more efficient the air filter is at catching pollutants inside your home. Mold, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, tobacco smoke and pet dander are some of the pollutants common in homes.
According to the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE), there are 4 general tiers or categories of MERV ratings:
• MERV 1–4 (decent): A filter in this MERV range is a disposable fiberglass filter. These can pick up particles that are 10 microns or larger, which include pollen and regular standing dust.
• MERV 5–8 (good): These are better at catching smaller particles (3–10 microns) like mold spores, hair spray, dust mites and animal dander.
• MERV 9–12 (better): These are considered the best option for residential use. These filters can remove pollutants as small as 1–3 microns, which includes particles like humidifier dust, auto emissions and legionella.
• MERV 13–16 (best): These filters are usually only found in hospitals because they can capture particles as small as 1–0.03 microns in size. Particles this small include bacteria, tobacco smoke and even the contaminants in sneezes.
(Air particles are measured in microns (one-millionth of a meter). The smaller the particle size in microns, the bigger the MERV rating you’ll need to trap it.)
There are three things to consider when choosing an air filter.
1. Do you have a limited budget? The higher the MERV rating the more expensive the filter.
2. How many pets are in your home? If you have pets iin your home, their dander is picked up and distributed by your HVAC system throughout your home. A filter with a MERV 8 should eliminate most animal dander, but if you have more than one pet, you may need a MERV 11 to completely eliminate those harmful particles.
3. Does anyone have health health issues? If someone has asthma or allergies a MERV 11 filter would be the best choice. This filter can pick up smaller particles than a MERV 8 filter.
Ohio Heating & Air has been providing clean air solutions for home owners for over 20 years. Give us a call at 614-863-6666. Our indoor air specialists service all makes and models of whole house air cleaners and ultra violet air purifiers.
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