Best Air Filter For Allergies
If you have an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system in your home, you probably know that it has an air filter that needs to be changed every three months or so. Professionals say this is the single most important thing you can do yourself to maintain proper functioning of your HVAC system and extend its life.
HVAC systems have to work a lot harder when they are clogged up with particles. The purpose of the air filter is to remove particles before they clog the system. Since some of those particles are allergens—such as dust, lint, dust mite debris, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and pet dander—this air filter benefits your lungs as well.
HVAC air filters are designed to last for up to three months, and then you need to change them. The HVAC system will not only work much better if you keep to this schedule, but you will save energy and money too.
With the cost of energy today, you likely save more than the cost of the filter on your power bill and put fewer toxic air pollution emissions into the environment from the generation of electricity to keep the air in your home warm or cool.
Changing the air filter in your HVAC system sounds simple enough, but many homeowners don’t do it as frequently as they should.
The four major problems homeowners encounter are:
- Knowing when to change the air filter
- Remembering to change the air filter on schedule
- Knowing where the air filter is located and how to change it
- Knowing what kind of air filter to buy
WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER
Labels on most HVAC air filters state “lasts up to 3 months.” But the proper time to change your filter is when particles begin to build up on the filter to point where airflow is decreased. Until you learn your system, you may want to check your air filter monthly to see if it needs to be changed.
Various environmental factors can effect the amount of particles that are collected by your filter:
- the overall outdoor air quality, such as city vs suburbia vs countryside
- The natural environment in which the house is located (there is much more dust in houses in the desert, for example than in a forest)
- furry pets in the house (a shedding pet can clog your filter fast)
- number of people in the house
- number of smokers in the house
- how often the house is vacuumed.
The season of the year also affects how often to change the filter. If you live in a southern climate, for example, and run the air conditioning during the summer and open windows in the winter, you won’t need to change the filter through the winter because you are not using it.
By keeping track of particle pollutants generated and HVAC needs throughout the year, you can begin to predict, over time, how often you will need to change the filter.
HOW TO REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR FILTER
Giving yourself a reminder to change the filter can be as simple as putting it as a “to do” in your calendar throughout the year.
Another option is to post the dates you need to change the filter on your thermostat, or on a decorative sign above it.
Whatever type of reminder system you use, simply enter your projected dates.
If you have a service contract with an HVAC company, they may send you an email or postcard reminder when it’s time to change your filter. Ask them if they are providing that service.
You can also use simple observation. If you look at the grate covering the filter and see accumulated dust and spider webs, change your filter!
KNOWING WHERE THE AIR FILTER IS LOCATED AND HOW TO CHANGE IT
The HVAC filter is usually located behind the air intake grate or grille inside your house. Often the air intake grate is in the hallway or in a ceiling.
Once you find the grille:
- Turn off the system at the thermostat.
- Unscrew the screws on the grille.
- Remove the old dirty filter.
- Install a new filter of the same size (if your filter has support wires, they go to the inside).
- Replace the grille and screws (vacuum grille if needed to remove dust)
- Turn the system back on.
- Enjoy cleaner air.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HVAC AIR FILTER FOR YOU
There are two things to look for when choosing an air filter: size and efficiency rating.
The size is written on the filter that is in your system. You need to get a filter that is the correct size to fit in the grille housing. This is usually the same size as the filter that you will find in the grille housing.
All HVAC air filters have a rating that tells what they will filter from the air. As you move up the ratings the filter removes smaller and a greater variety of particle types. A higher rating will remove smaller particles, but it will also clog faster.
- Look for is a MERV rating or an FPR. MERV (Minimum. Efficiency Reporting. Value
- Is a universal industry rating; FPR (Filter Performance Rating)
- Is a rating established by Home Depot. MERV 8 is viewed as having the best balance between efficient pollutant removal and filter life. FPR 7-9 is equivalent to MERV 8.
If you plan ahead, you can order a box of four filters online and save money. And you’ll be good for a year.
INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
As good as an HVAC air filter is at protecting your HVAC system, it generally is not considered to be enough of an air filter to remove pollutants that can affect your health throughout your home.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has called indoor air pollution the nation’s number one environmental health problem. While homes typically have much higher levels of pollutants than outdoor air, air quality in homes is not regulated. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that indoor air is pure and does not cause illness.All HVAC air filters are designed to remove large particles that might clog the HVAC system. But beyond removing particles that are allergens, these filters do not effectively remove pollutants from the indoor air throughout your home.
A typical HVAC filter removes dust and other particles from the air. It has nothing to do with removing toxic gasses.
Tobacco smoke, for example, is a combination of particles and gasses. Paint fumes, perfume, and pesticides are all gasses, as are fumes from synthetic carpets, formaldehyde vapors from particleboard, and carbon monoxide from cooking on gas stoves. Fire retardants on sofas and electronics may be particles or gasses.
Air Filter For for VOCs, Odor & Gases
Lastly, we are constantly breathing and the world around us is full of chemical pollution, odors, and fragrances. We can each make our own choices for the foods and other things we ingest, but it is much more challenging to choose what is in the air we are breathing. Using the EnviroKlenz products for surfaces and contents is half the battle and air filtration devices do a great job of removing particulate matter, but chemicals and odors are not easily caught by sized-based filtration technology. EnviroKlenz has been able to address this problem of residual chemical air pollution. By combining their advanced chemical neutralization technology with particulate removal, one can effectively address two of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air at the same time. They offer air filtration products in both standalone air purification system and through advanced pleated air filters that can be used in many HVAC systems.The company behind these EnviroKlenz products believes the best methods, products, and technologies should offer the ability to chemically dismantle a wide range of undesirable chemical compounds without releasing fragrances and odors. That logic makes a lot of sense