There are many steps you can take to create a more air-friendly indoor environment. Some of the devices and claims can make the topic of air filtration confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Read our blog and take a look at the simplified diagram to see if we can help clear the air on which solution is the right fit for you. And if you still have a few questions, call an HVAC consultant for an on-site evaluation.
First, let us give you a quick fact: According to the EPA, pollutant levels can be two to five times higher inside your home than they are outside. We bring pollen in on our shoes, clothes, and hair; mold spores enter through open doors and windows; high indoor humidity levels cause mold growth and attract dust mites and bacteria. We seal our so homes tightly—making sure conditioned air doesn’t leak out—that our HVAC system is not bringing in fresh air to dilute the concentration of the indoor air contaminants. If you suffer from allergies or have concerns about the air your family is breathing inside your home, simple choices you make can have a significant impact on your indoor environment.
Simply Open Your Doors.
Turn off your HVAC and open the windows on occasion when pollen is not in full force. And have indoor plants like Aloe Vera, Bamboo, and English Ivy to name a few, to mitigate the pollution. Check the toxicity of the plants to make sure they are pet-friendly.
Have An HVAC Maintenance Check. (Just Do It.)
Because your HVAC system moves air around your home, the first time you start up your AC for the season, you may have an allergic reaction because resting pollutants (dust mites, mold spores, and pollen) become airborne. If you’re not changing your filter frequently or getting regular maintenance on your HVAC system, you’ll keep blowing particulates throughout your home! Your HVAC system doesn’t just spread these particles, it can harbor them as well. Schedule a maintenance check, you’ve probably got dust, pollen, moisture, and other allergens on the blower fans and in your ductwork. Plus maintenance will extend the life of your HVAC system—just like an oil change extends the life of your car.
Use High-Efficiency Air Filters And Note The MERV.
Changing your filter every six months helps. But during allergy season, you might consider replacing your filter more often if you suffer significantly from allergies. Choosing the right filter can make a big difference, too. Use high-efficiency air filters: these filters are rated by a Minimum Efficiency Reporting System (MERV) and range from about 14 to 16. The MERV scale measures a filter’s ability to remove particles from .30 to 10 microns in size. (To give you a comparison of the scale of a micron, 100 microns is approximately the thickness of a human hair strand!) The higher the MERV, the smaller the particles they can remove.
Caution: Washable Filters May Not Be The Best Choice.
Washable filters are more expensive than disposable filters, they have lower MERV ratings, and if you don’t clean a washable filter regularly, it will become clogged, and contaminants could start growing on your filter. Contaminants also grow on washable filters when they are replaced after washing without proper drying time. And a moldy air filter will spread contaminants throughout your entire home.
Install An Air Purifier/Electronic Air Cleaner (EAC)
Air purifiers or EACs are installed in your HVAC system’s return (see diagram below) and treat the air throughout your entire home. These devices are filter-based and use fans to pull the air in your home through a series of filters that remove harmful airborne particles like dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria prior to going into your HVAC unit.
Install An Air Scrubber.
Filters are essential; however, contaminants like mold, bacteria, allergens, and pet odors, are so small they can pass through filters. An air scrubber is installed directly into your HVAC system’s supply to clean and purify indoor air going into your home. When you turn on your air conditioner, fan, or furnace, air flows through UV light waves and activated carbon filters which destroy viruses, germs, bacteria, mold, chemicals, odors, and allergens.
From regular HVAC maintenance checks to frequent high-efficiency air filter changes you can decrease the number of pollutants inside your home and breath cleaner air. Ask an HVAC consultant to discuss the benefits of an air purifier and/or air scrubber. There are a lot of models on the market and understanding the benefits of each one and how they work to clean your air can help you find the right value.
This blog is based on W.E. Brown best practices.
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