Air Filter Replacement & Installation
The reason we have air conditioners and furnaces is to keep the interior of our homes and offices at a comfortable temperature. This is done by creating a predominantly closed air system, keeping the outside air out and the inside air in. Unfortunately, that leads to an issue with indoor air quality. Outside air is cleaned every time it rains and since we don’t have indoor rain showers to clean our air, we need to add filtration devices.
The most basic air filter is the one that is currently installed on your HVAC system. This air filter catches pollutants as air is drawn in from the outside or returned to the blower motor through the return vents. These filters do a good job of keeping dirt and debris out of the system, but even the best ones don’t clean everything out of the air. The good news is, we install several different types of air filtration for both residential and commercial customers.
Mechanical Air Filters
These are the filters that you are probably used to using. They work by catching particles in the air and binding them to the filter surface. Most of them come with a MERV rating that indicates how well they filter air on the first pass. The higher the MERV rating (from 1 to 16), the more efficient the filter is. The EPA suggests mechanical filters with a MERV value between 7 and 13 to get the best filtration for the price. Filters with lower values do little in the way of air cleaning, while higher values are considerably more expensive (and can lead to airflow issues in the typical home system).
Electronic Air Cleaners
Electronic air cleaners use an electrostatic charge to draw particles to its surface. While there are no standardized tests to determine their effectiveness, it is generally accepted that these filters offer superior particulate collection to mechanical filters. Some of these filters produce ozone, which is a verified lung irritant, making them a poor choice for people suffering from asthma and other lung problems.
Gas-Phase Air Filters
Gas-phase filtration uses a sorbent to collect airborne pollution. Activated carbon is one of the most popular sorbents for filtration use. These filters are not usually used in the home because they tend need replacing on a monthly basis. These filters are typically used to remove particular gases and are used in addition to another air filtration device.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Cleaners
Unlike the gas-phase filters that target certain unwanted gases and mechanical filters that collect particulate pollution, UVGI filters destroy bacteria and viruses in the air. We recommend using a UVGI filtration unit in tandem with a mechanical unit because the UVGI won’t remove particulates.
Photocatalytic Oxidation Cleaners
These offshoots of UVGI filters use a catalyst to help destroy gaseous pollutants from the air in addition to bacteria and viruses. They are very new and have limited use because most of the catalysts used are limited in effectiveness. We do not install nor suggest these units for residential or commercial customers.
As mentioned before, ozone is a lung irritant. We do not suggest using any ozone creating device in your home. One of the biggest concerns with the ozone generator is that it could cause dirt and debris to become charged and then inhaled into the lungs. The charged pollutants then stick to the interior of the lungs before they get back to the filter. This actually caused more damage to your lungs than breathing in the pollutants by themselves.
Portable Air Cleaners
If you have a radiant heating system, a portable air filtration system is going to be your best option. Most of these units are relatively small and can cover about 1000 square feet of space at max. You may need to purchase multiple air cleaners to handle your entire home. The other drawback to portable units is that they are fan driven and many don’t create the necessary air movement to remove large particles from the air.
Which one of these air filtration options is best for you? Let us help you figure that out. We’ve been champions of indoor air quality for over a decade. Call us today to schedule an in home consultation and take the first step to cleaner, healthier air right now.