The Devil Is in the Dust – Understanding the Role of HVAC Air Filters

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There is an old saying, “The devil is in the details,” which means on the surface, things may seem to be satisfactory. However, a closer look often reveals unexpected, more serious issues. The same might be said of the air quality inside your home. At first glance (or sniff), everything appears to be fine. However, upon closer examination, unhealthy levels of fine desert dirt, dust mites, pet dander and other problematic particulate matter are found floating in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency states, “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” If you or a family member suffers from a respiratory condition, you know the devil is in the dust (and dander).

Sneezing and Wheezing – Allergies and Air Filters in Your Home

One indicator your home may require increased air filtration is if family members are constantly complaining about respiratory issues. Sneezing, wheezing, runny noses, watery eyes and scratchy throats make for miserable kids and adults. Childhood asthma, which is on the rise, is one of the biggest causes of school absences across the US. Arizona is home to many retirees. Older adults with cardiovascular disease, COPD or other respiratory diseases spend most of their time indoors, which makes indoor air quality even more crucial. The fact is, families deal with these conditions all the time but rarely consider indoor air quality as a possible culprit.

Understanding Air Filters

With a forced-air HVAC system, air filters are vitally important. And the type of HVAC filter you choose can make a difference when it comes to the quality of the air you and your family are breathing.

Fiberglass/synthetic filters are the most common type of HVAC filter. These are the disposable filters that you will find on grocery store shelves and at every home improvement retailer. Catching about 80 percent of particles that are 50 microns or larger, they effectively reduce dust and dirt on heat exchangers, fan motors and other HVAC surfaces.

For a higher level of filtration, you’ll want to go with a higher quality filter. These include polyester filters that removed up to 95 percent of particles 5 microns or larger and pleated filters which can trap particulates 0.3 microns in size, including bacteria and viruses.

For the maximum level of air filtration, HEPA filters are a good choice. They capture up to 99 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger. But, it’s important to remember that with the greater filtration level, there will be a reduction in your HVAC system’s air flow. Thus, choosing this option will also increase your utility costs slightly.

Call Us for More Information

As we like to say, indoor air quality issues are nothing to sneeze at. Indoor air pollutants can cause serious health concerns. Why not give us a call today? We would love to improve the air you breathe.