Air cooling and heating systems play a big role in keeping indoor air quality at the right levels. Most HVAC systems have some kind of filter that prevents contaminants such as pollen and dust mites from circulating indoors. However, one should change them regularly to ensure that they continue working properly. Here are some examples of domestic air purifiers:
Washable Air Filters
Although one should discard dirty and clogged up filtering devices, you can nevertheless buy a washable one. The problem with these types of filters is they have a very low minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) – a measure of their efficiency. In addition, they could allow contaminants such as bacteria and fungus to escape and circulate inside your house. Most HVAC technicians discourage homeowners from buying washable air filters.
Fiberglass Air Filters
These be make up of consistently thin, flexible glass threads. Although they are quite cheap, they are not as effective as other obtainable options. One major drawback associated with fiberglass is its inability to capture small airborne particles. In fact, the majority of fiberglass filters you will come across will have a MERV rating ranging anywhere from one to four. Nevertheless, there have been concerns about their safety. In fact, the American Lung Association warns homeowners to avoid direct contact with this material because it can irritate the eyes, skin, throat, and nose.
Polyester and Pleated Air Filters
These are similar to fiberglass alternatives but boast of superior dust trapping similarities. The MERV rating ranges from an eight to an impressive 14 meaning it can trap and remove as much as 45% of contaminants in your home.
Electronic Air Filters
Unlike the filters described above, manufacturers permanently fix electronic versions inside HVAC systems. Some work by electrostatically charging fibers that attract and capture airborne particles. However, they can produce ozone, which is a known lung irritant.
High Efficiency Air Filters
These are the most efficient and can remove up to 85% of air pollutants present inside your home. Their rating ranges from 14 to a maximum of 16. Manufacturers make them using synthetic polyester fibers or pleated filter paper.
When it comes to buying an air filter, the obtainable options include washable, high efficiency, polyester and pleated, electronic, and fiberglass. Do not make the decision to buy one based on the MERV rating alone. The rule of thumb is to choose a product that removes the highest number of contaminants without restricting airflow.