Tip Of The Month – Air Filtration

Typically, during the winter months, we spend a lot more time indoors than we do outdoors. This is also when people tend to be sick more often, maybe it is the lack of sunlight or maybe it is the air within our homes. Who knows for sure, but we do know that the air inside our homes can be 5-Times more harmful to breathe than the air outside! Wow!

Choosing a good air filtration system is not only beneficial for you and your families health but it is also important in the protection of your homes heating and cooling system. There are several different types of air filters and systems on the market today for your home and business. Filtration systems are generally marketed towards protecting your personal health but like I said they also are important in protecting the well being of your heating and cooling system. So which one is right for you?

Well first of all let’s discuss how they rate air filters. The common terminology used today to rate the effectiveness of air filters is their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or “MERV” for short. The higher the MERV rating the more effective the air filter is at blocking and capturing indoor air particulates such as dust, dander, skin flakes, etc…

We recommend that you have at least a MERV 8 filter in your system. The Ultravation Systems that we install commonly is rated at a MERV 10. The 5″ thick pleated filter needs to be replaced every six months and there are no mechanical parts to this system. Most filters that are sold at the hardware store for $3-$7 are no where near a MERV 8 and the cheaper filters that you buy at the hardware stores are rated somewhere in the MERV 1-2 range. There are a few 1″ thick pleated filters on the market that are rated at a MERV 5; however you need to read between the lines. Some of the filter companies rate their filters after they are in use and not when they are brand new. So what this means is as the filter gets dirty its rating will increase.

So what do you do if you or someone in your family has severe allergies and the MERV 10 system just isn’t good enough? One bit of advice is to have an Ultraviolet Light installed in your homes duct work. We can install a two bulb system that works very well. There is one UV light installed in the supply duct, just above your furnace that will kill any airborne allergen before they make their way to your vents and another installed in the return air duct above the air filter system, the unit in the return duct will kill anything before the filter and then the filter captures the airborne allergens.

Some people will require even a better system than a UV Light and Media Filter system. In that case we recommend a bypass type air filtration unit. This will be an externally mounted filtration system that will bypass air in your duct work and return the filtered air to the system. The reason that we cannot go with just a higher MERV rated filter system is due to airflow requirements once you get above a MERV 16 the airflow is really restrictive and can actually do damage to your homes heating system. The bypass unit still allows proper airflow to the system while allowing an additional amount of filtration.