How serious is indoor air pollution?
According to the EPA, indoor atmosphere pollution on average is between 2 and 5 times greater than the surrounding outdoor pollution. The EPA lists it among the top 5 environmental health risks. According to the American Lung Association, 87% of American homeowners are unaware that pollution may be worse inside their homes than outdoors.
How can I improve indoor air quality?
Source Removal refers to the direct removal or elimination of the specific pollutants, such as toxic cleaners, air fresheners, hair spray, and paints or carpets that off gas toxic fumes.
Increased Ventilation simply means to increase the outside air entering your home. This can be achieved by opening windows and letting fresh air in to circulate. Turning on ceiling fans or the HVAC fan on residential systems circulates the air but does not introduce fresh air from outside.
Air Cleaning involves removing impurities by filtering the indoor air. Filtration systems, certain types of plants and the filter on your Heating and Air Conditioning system, all work to remove impurities. The filter on your heating and cooling system can play an important role in removing dust, pollen, mold and other pollutants from your indoor environment. Your choice in air filters will determine the filter’s effectiveness.
Now that you are aware that indoor air pollution is a common problem, you can take some very simple steps to improve the air you breathe inside your homes. The results can be quite dramatic.
If you have any questions regarding our services or to schedule an appointment, call Comfort Climate Service at 251-610-2848. We provide quality service at competitive prices, serving Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Foley and surrounding areas in Alabama.
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Air filters play a key role in removing pollen and allergens from the air.
The air filter on your heating and air conditioning system can play an important role in removing dust, pollen, mold and other pollutants from your indoor environment. Your choice in air filters will determine the filter’s effectiveness. The best filter for your particular home will be one that filters out the greatest number of pollutants while still allowing adequate air flow to your system.
What do I need to consider when selecting an air filter?
All air filters are not created equal! When selecting a filter, you should consider the effectiveness of the type of filter, the filtering efficiency rating referred to as the MERV rating, as well as your specific equipment manufacturer guidelines.
Air Filter Types
Panel Filters are typically made of spun fiberglass and only trap the very largest particles. Many home and business owners are still buying the panel filters only because they do not realize the filters are virtually ineffective and that much better options are available.
Pleated Filters are much more effective at trapping particles due to the denser material and increased surface area. With pleated air filters, the surface area is more than doubled. This means that there is a much greater surface area available to capture airborne particles. Pleated filter prices are still inexpensive, even though they are a bit more expensive than the panel filter. Like panel filters, pleated filters are disposable. At this time, a good pleated filter is the best option for most homes.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters seem like they would do an even better job at filtering out more particles because the material is much denser. Technically, they do; however, in residential HVAC equipment, they cause a significant decrease in air flow because the filter material is denser. In this case, too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. HVAC equipment requires adequate air flow to function properly. Although, HEPA filters may be suited for hospitals or other settings with commercial HVAC equipment, they are not recommended for use in residential HVAC systems.
Reusable Filters seem like they would be an excellent environmentally friendly choice because they reduce waste going to the landfill. Unfortunately, consumer demand has not caused the makers to improve the existing technology. With the large spaces between the filter material, the reusable air filters on the market are not as effective in trapping particles as their pleated counterparts. Improvements in design are needed to make reusable filters an efficient choice.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is the standard rating system for HVAC air filters. MERV Ratings range from 1-16. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient in trapping airborne particles. General guidelines for suitable uses of filters with corresponding MERV ratings are below.
- MERV Rating 5-8 Good for Residential
- MERV Rating 9-12 Superior for Residential; Good for Commercial
- MERV Rating 13-16 Hospital & Surgery
Always, refer to your HVAC manufacturer information for requirements. Keep in mind that most residential HVAC equipment does not have enough fan or motor capacity to adequately circulate air using the highest efficiency filters.
How frequently should I change my air filter?
Inspect your air filters regularly. All filters will have a recommended change frequency. This will differ depending on the brand and filter. Use the suggested frequency as a guideline, keeping in mind that the need will vary depending on seasonal and usage factors. We recommend that you check your filter every month to 45 days and change as needed. Some programmable thermostats have a feature that calculates this information based on run time of the unit and will notify you when it is time to change the filter.
A clean and properly functioning quality filter will trap pollutants and improve the quality of the air that you breathe. A dirty filter becomes ineffective at removing air pollutants and will prevent adequate air flow to the unit, making the unit work harder to control the temperature in your environment. When the unit has to work harder, energy costs are increased and equipment life is decreased.
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To schedule a repair or preventative maintenance appointment or for a free replacement equipment quote, call Comfort Climate Service at 251-610-2848. We provide quality service at competitive prices and service the Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Foley and surrounding areas in Alabama.