What kind of air filter does your family use at home?
- A furnace filter (electrostatic, permanent, pleated or disposable)?
- A whole house HEPA filter?
- An ultraviolet air purifier?
- An electronic air cleaner?
Most families stick with a standard furnace filter, and for most that’s just fine.
But is the standard furnace filter you use actually right for your home? And what if you’re among the households in need of more comprehensive air quality control?
Here’s everything you need to know about buying an air filter for your family.
Furnace filters come in multiple sizes and configurations
Furnace filters come in a few different configurations.
Electrostatic furnace filters attract air pollutants with a negative electrical charge. When you were young, you would rub a balloon in your hair and the static would make it stick to a wall, or give you crazy statically charged hair. It’s the same principle. The static charge attracts air pollutants to the filter, trapping them until you clean the filter.
Permanent filters are meant to be washed and reused multiple times, reducing waste. These include electrostatic filters and some pleated filters.
Pleated filters specialize in removing allergens from the air. If you or your kids struggle with allergies between May and October, you’ll noticed a marked reduction in allergy symptoms at home with a pleated filter.
The pleating allows excellent air flow while filtering out small particles, but requires replacing every 3 months or so.
Disposable furnace filters are, you guessed it, disposable. They’re the least expensive to buy and perform as well as you’d expect the cheapest option to perform.
How do I know if a furnace filter will perform well?
Performance ultimately comes down to MERV rating.
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating on a furnace filter will be between 1 and 20, although typically in your home the maximum rating is 13 (MERV ratings from 14-20 are generally found in hospitals and similar settings where air contaminants must be meticulously managed).
- A MERV 8 filter will take care of things like pollen, dust, pet dander.
- A MERV 11 rating will take care of the above items, plus mould and vehicle fumes.
- A MERV rating at 13 will take care of everything above, plus smoke, bacteria, viruses and microscopic allergens.
Why choose a HEPA filter?
HEPA filters are just furnace filters with high MERV ratings.
At higher MERV ratings, your filter can restrict airflow through the house.
Some furnaces are designed to operate with lower airflow and higher rated HEPA filters, others aren’t.
When in doubt, consult a member of our team or your owner’s manual to see if a HEPA filter is right for your home.
How does an ultraviolet air purifier work?
Ultraviolet air purifiers don’t filter dust out of your air, but they destroy more dangerous air contaminants handily, including:
UV light destroys all 4. If you live in an older home, a rural setting, or a member of your family is prone to severe allergies, a UV air purifier is your best bet.
Electronic air cleaners are common around Burlington and Oakville
Electronic air cleaners can be charged furnace filters like mentioned in the top section of this blog.
They come in furnace-based units and room-based units. Depending on the size and environment inside your home, individual room units might be your best bet.
It’s impossible to say without visiting your home.
If you’re happy with your current air quality at home, you can pick up your replacement filters from us. If you think your family will benefit from better air quality inside the house, we can show you a handful of options and help you figure out the best value for your upgrade.