Air Cleaners: 3 Bits of Information That Can Help You Choose Yours
Most homeowners are unaware that their indoor air is likely a lot more polluted than the air just outside the front door. This is partly a result of volatile organic compounds found in many homes, as well as other pollutants that find their way inside, and partly because so many modern homes have been sealed tightly against the outside. There’s basically nowhere for built-up contaminants to go once they’re trapped inside. That’s where an effective indoor air cleaning strategy comes in.
Here are three tips to help you choose the right air cleaners or filters for your house
1. Pick your type.
For homeowners with a forced-air heating and cooling system – that is, a system that uses a blower to distribute warm or cold air through your home, via ductwork, from a central location – the best option is to add a permanent filtration module to the system. But for homeowners with systems such as radiant heat or baseboards that don’t blow air through ducts, portable air purifiers are the way to go. Portable air purifiers clean one room or area at a time, while filtration modules clean the entire home’s air.
2. Learn your acronyms.
There are two important acronyms to look for while you shop. First, try to buy a HEPA filter. That stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air,” and it means the filter catches more than 99 percent of all airborne particles, even the smallest ones. This includes a wide range of dust and debris, as well as mold spores, various allergens, and some bacteria and viruses. Second, keep an eye out for CADR, which stands for “Clean Air Delivery Rate.” Given by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, these ratings show how well an air cleaner removes tobacco smoke, dust and pollen in a combined space, with higher numbers reflecting better air-cleaning capacity for each substance. The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) is also an important rating system for filters, with higher numbers reflecting the ability to remove smaller particulates from the air.
3. Look for allergy and asthma friendly machines.
The Allergy and Asthma Foundation offers a new certification for air purifiers that guarantees the air cleaner actually reduces allergens, instead of just redistributing them. Also, try to avoid filters that produce ozone, such as electrostatic purifiers. While ozone smells sweet, it’s a known lung irritant and can be especially irritating for people with asthma. Finding the right air cleaner or filter is just one part of keeping your home’s air fresh and clean.
For help, talk to a professional at Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: Leo Reynolds