Breathe Easy this Spring - Air Filters

The onset of the spring season means longer days, warmer weather, and a time of transition. It's a time when many homeowners rely alternatingly on their heating and air condition to keep pace with the whims of Mother Nature.  Pollen in the springtime air can also aggravate springtime allergies. Your HVAC system's air filter is an integral part of its working effectively, especially when it comes to reducing the number of allergens in the air. To be sure it's working properly, it's necessary to ensure they are clean and free of debris. Spring is the perfect time to change your air filter to set your home up for a full season of clean, fresh air. Before we can understand why changing your air filter is so important this spring, let's look at how they work.

How effective an air filter will be is indicated by a value on the MERV scale, denoted by a number. "MERV" is an acronym that stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is a standard rating used across the heating and cooling industry that is based on the percentage of particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns that the filter can filter out. The more particles a filter can handle, the more effective it will be at cleaning the air.

There are also many different types of air filters, and it does make a difference which one you choose. Let's look at a few of the options.

Panel filters – These are by far the most common type of air filters. Usually featuring a MERV raing of between one and four, they aren't so much designed to improve indoor air quality as they are to prevent the HVAC system itself from accumulating too much dust and debris from the air, which can cause a breakdown in the system.

Pleated filters – These filters can have a MERV rating of up to 10 and they are generally electrostatically charged to attract particles, which means they are much more effective than panel filters at filtering out common household allergens such as pet dander.

Extended Media Filters – This type of filter, which resembles an accordion, will require you to make some changes to your existing ductwork in order to accommodate them, but they are very effective. Extended media filters work in much the same way as other types of filters do, but instead use several layers of filters, allowing them to effectively remove a larger percentage of pollutants from the air. When particles do get through the first "layer" of filtration, the other layers act as a safety net.

Electronic Filters – These, too, will require some modification to the ductwork, but they are hardwired so as to allow an electrical current to pass through them. The purpose of the electrical charge is to allow the filter to collect the filtered particles effectively. These filters do not need replacing, but they will still require regular maintenance so they remain clean and working effectively.

Regardless of the type of filter your system uses, spring is the perfect time to clean and/or maintain them. Ensuring that your system's filters are clean and in good working order ensures that your system will work efficiently. That means the air quality inside your home will be good, which is extremely important during allergy season and also if anyone in your household has respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies, but a system that works well will also save you money on your energy bills, too. Click here to find out more.