6 Things You Probably Never Knew about Air Filters: Air filters are becoming popularly known items used in homes and even corporate spaces to trap dust or dirt that may be present in the air. Typically, as air blows through a space (home or corporate), it gathers dust, pet hair, dirt, mold, bacteria, allergens, and about a million other types of particles.
These particles generally have the potential to be harmful to our health and affect us in ways we never even imagined; especially as indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Hence, the need for air filters.
These devices also play an important role in keeping your home as well as the air in it clean. With air filters, people who suffer from asthma or allergies can keep their homes free of allergens or asthma triggers. Even hospitals, research labs, and other specialized locations require better air filtration for health and safety purposes.
It is however important to monitor air filters to ensure they function optimally in keeping the air in your home or corporate space (near) particle-free. The following interesting facts about air filtration would help you make the most out of your air filters:
1. Using One Air Filter For too long is Almost Same Thing as Not Using an Air Filter
Air filters get clogged too, especially because they are primarily designed to trap particles from the air. When an air filter is clogged up, it runs out of space to collect more of those air contaminants.
Consequently, the contaminants are left to recirculate throughout your home. This exposes you to air that you were trying to avoid by installing an air filter in the first place.
With a clogged air filter, those allergies, dirt, dust, and bacteria move freely along with the air in your home.
Air filters are either disposable or reusable and depending on the size and type of space, it is advisable to change or clean air filters every two months – especially if you have a pet.
2. Air Filters Improve the Efficiency of Your Cooling System
The resistance or pressure drop, MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, and the dust holding capacity and dust-spot efficiency of an air filter are important factors that affect the efficiency of an air filter.
These factors in turn affect the efficiency of the cooling system in your home – could be an air conditioner or ventilator.
Typically, air filters with lower pressure drop and resistance increase airflow and would consequently, help your air conditioner (or any other cooling system) operate more efficiently.
What’s more, air filters with lower pressure drop have higher efficiency.
3. Not All Air Filters Are the Same
If you’re worried about allergens being carried along with the air into your home, just getting any kind of air filter won’t cut it.
While there are standard air filters that prevent dust and other particles from being circulated in your home, there are other more specialized air filters designed to trap smaller contaminants and allergens.
It is best to install specialized air filters in your home (or corporate space) if allergens are a major concern.
Generally, there are three types of air filters: pleated, fiberglass, and electrostatic air filters. You may consider purchasing the electrostatic filter as these can capture particles in the air with self-charging fibers, making them a perfect choice for allergens.
These electromagnetic filters have washable versions too but they need to be completely dry after washing before reinserting. Reinserting wet air filters can result in mold growth.
The ratings of these electrostatic filters however differ. It is therefore important to consider this even while purchasing an electromagnetic air filter to trap allergens – the severity of your allergy would determine the type of electromagnetic filter to purchase.
4. The Rating on an Air Filter Influences Its Effectiveness
The higher the MERV rating, the more effective it is. MERV is an industry-standard value or measurement scale that helps compare the performance of air filters.
While an air filter with a lower MERV rating would conveniently trap larger air contaminants like pollen, fibers, and, pet hair, it might have a hard time trapping smaller particles like dust, mold spores, and bacteria.
Air filters with a higher MERV rating, on the other hand, conveniently trap both larger and smaller air contaminants, allowing the air in your home to be a lot cleaner.
The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles. What’s more, effective air filters mean an efficient cooling system; this, in turn, saves energy costs.
It is therefore important to consider the MERV rating when making a purchasing decision for air filters. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), medium efficiency filters with a MERV of 5 to 13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles.
In some other cases, a range of 7 to 12 would serve better. 16 is, however, the highest MERV rating.
5. Using Artificial Air Fresheners Affects the Efficiency of Air Filters
Having an air filter installed in a space with excessive use of air fresheners tends to put a strain on the air filter. This is because the perfumes and artificial chemicals that have been designed to give off a specific scent often interfere with the air filter’s ability to efficiently filter the air.
While we may be tempted to think that having a pleasant scent circulating the room while the air filter performs its function might make the air feel even fresher, in reality, this produces a counter effect.
If you’re keen on having not only clean air but fresh air, you may want to consider installing a ventilation system, or an AC unit. You can take a look at the excellent collection of air conditioners here and make your pick.
6. The Size of Your Cooling System Matters
Air filters are usually inserted over cooling systems – ventilators, AC units, etc. And when choosing the type that best fits your cooling system, it is important to consider the size of the air filter.
This is necessary because by inserting a filter that is either too big or too small, air will flow around the filter rather than through it; thus, defeating the goal of inserting the filter in the first place.
The sizes of air filters are usually printed on the sides. These sizes are, however, nominal sizes and not the actual size. Nominal sizes are more or less a rounded value of the actual size.
This, therefore, means that a nominal size can have several different actual sizes. The actual size, on the other hand, is the true size of your filter.
The easiest way to identify the air filter size that would go into the corresponding spaces in your cooling system is to safely remove the already existing filter and check the nominal size on the filter sides.
In cases where you have never used an air filter before, you can determine the size you would need to purchase by measuring the cooling slot using a measuring instrument.
Air filters are very effective in helping us keep the air in our homes as well as corporate spaces clean. However, to get the most out of them, it is important to take particular care to not miss out on those small but significant mistakes that could present a counter effect to the goal of installing them in the first place.