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What is Air Filtration and Why Should You Care?

Air filter

When you think of air pollution, the image that comes to mind is probably a smog-filled sky, maybe over a highway or with smokestacks in the background. While it's true that cars and manufacturing cause a great deal of pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air within our homes can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. On top of that, we spend nearly 93% of our lives indoors, whether it's at home, in an office, or at a store, which means keeping our indoor air clean should always be a top priority.

What are common air contaminants?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality; some of the most prevalent contaminants inside of our homes, according to the EPA, include:

  • Biological Pollutants - including bacteria, viruses, animal dander and saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen

  • Smoke - including wood smoke and second-hand smoke from tobacco and other products

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - common sources of VOCs include paints, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, air fresheners, and pesticide

  • Indoor Particulate Matter - common sources of IPM include stoves, heaters, fireplaces, chimneys, and candles

  • Mold and mold spores

What is the significance of a MERV rating?

MERV, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, reports on a filter's ability to capture airborne particles between the sizes of 0.3 and 10 microns. The higher the MERV rating is, the smaller the particle it can catch. On the scale, 16 is the highest rating, which means it can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns.

To give you an idea of the size of various contaminants, here are a few examples in order of smallest to largest:

  • 0.01 microns - viruses

  • 0.1 microns - smog and smoke

  • 1 micron - bacteria and dust mites

  • 2.5 microns - pet dander

  • 10 microns - mold spores, pollen, and dust

Which air filter is right for me?

There are a few factors that go into selecting the right air filter for your home. First, you'll want to choose an air filter that traps a lot of contaminants while also making sure the filter doesn't create too much negative air pressure; otherwise, you could encounter ventilation problems.

The main goal of your air filter is to trap contaminants and prevent them from circulating throughout your home. However, if the rating is too high for your home, it will force your HVAC system to work even harder to circulate temperature-controlled air throughout. This will lead to higher heating and cooling bills and could shorten the lifespan of your system. If you're unsure which filter is best for you, contact our Comfort Consultants for expert guidance.

Air Filtration Will Help Your HVAC System As Well

The use of air filters won't just help to keep your home's residents healthy and comfortable; it also helps to lengthen the lifespan of your unit as well. Since they filter out airborne contaminants, they prevent dust and other debris from settling on all of the important components of your unit.

Every day we breathe in 11,000 liters of air. We should be doing our best to make sure as much of that air is clean for the benefit of our health and of our comfort within our own homes. Understanding air quality and filtration is a complex issue; if you encounter any obstacles or questions along the way, don't hesitate to contact our team of experts for advice and assistance.

Our team at Pyramid Heating & Cooling is here to turn your home into the great indoors, so call us at (503) 783-8488 with any and all questions you might have.

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