You may not know that poor indoor air quality can be just as dangerous as outdoor air pollution—especially if you have respiratory problems. One of the best ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality is to install an appropriate air filter.
It’s no secret that air pollution is a major global health concern. In the United States alone, it’s responsible for more than 400,000 deaths each year. And while most of us are aware of the dangers of outdoor air pollution, having a reliable air filter at home can make a world of difference for indoor air quality and your health. So, how do you choose the right one? Read on for tips.
Filter Size and Capacity
There are two important factors to consider when purchasing an air filter: size and capacity. The size of the filter will determine how much air it can clean, while the capacity indicates how long the filter will last before needing to be replaced.
When choosing a size, remember that a larger filter will be able to clean more air but will also require more effort to replace. Conversely, a smaller filter will be less effective at cleaning the air and easier to change.
As for capacity, think about how often you will need to replace the filter. If you have a filthy home or someone in your household suffers from allergies, you may want to choose a filter with a higher capacity. However, if you have a clean home and everyone in your family is healthy, you may get away with a lower-capacity filter.
Material & MERV Rating
Air filters come in a variety of materials and with different MERV ratings. The three most common materials are pleated paper, spun fiberglass, and polyester.
Pleated paper air filters are the most popular type of filter. They are made of layers of folded paper that trap particles as air passes through them. Pleated paper filters usually have a MERV rating of between 4 and 8.
Spun fiberglass air filters are made of spun glass fibers that trap particles as air passes through them. Spun fiberglass filters usually have a MERV rating of between 8 and 12. Polyester air filters are synthetic fibers that trap particles as air passes through them. Polyester filters typically have a MERV rating of between 12 and 16. The MERV scale goes from 1-16, with 16 being the highest degree of particle removal.
- MERV 1-4: These filters are great for trapping large particles such as dust, pollen, and pet hair. They will not, however, remove smaller particles such as bacteria and viruses.
- MERV 5-8: These filters effectively trap large and small particles. They are a good choice for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
- MERV 9-12: These filters trap tiny particles such as bacteria and viruses. They are a good choice for people who suffer from allergies, asthma, or immune system disorders.
- MERV 13-16: These filters are the most effective at trapping small particles as small as 0.3 microns or larger. Any air filter with a rating higher than 13 will significantly reduce airflow, which could harm your HVAC system and increase the cost of repair.
It is necessary to consider the frequency of replacement or cleaning when choosing an air filter for your home. The filters with the highest MERV rating will need to be replaced more frequently than those with a lower MERV rating. You should generally plan on replacing or cleaning your air filter every 1-3 months.
It is important to consider various factors when choosing an air filter for your home. The size, material, MERV rating, and frequency of replacement or cleaning are all important considerations. Remember that the best air filter for your home will vary depending on your needs and lifestyle.