Nowadays it’s virtually impossible for most people to live without an air conditioner. A reliable HVAC system can make searing summers and freezing winters bearable and even pleasant. However, if your equipment doesn’t have a clean, effective filter, it will release indoor air pollutants even as it cools or heats your home.
Impurities in the air can cause a number of problems, including allergic reactions and asthma flare-ups. Contaminants like pollen, dust and odors can make your indoor air dangerous to your health and wellbeing.
You’ve probably heard about MERV and HEPA filters, but what are they, how do they compare to each other and which one is more effective at improving indoor air quality? Here’s a brief comparison to help you decide which filter to use with your air conditioner.
MERV means minimum efficiency reporting value. All filters have a rating for their MERV. The rating tells you how effective the filter is at removing particulate matter from the air, such as pollen, dust and pet dander.
The highest MERV-rated filters can even remove smoke, car fumes and biological growth. If there are members of your household who suffer from asthma and allergies, a high–rated MERV filter is for you.
It’s important to read the literature that comes with a filter to know exactly what it can remove from the air. Generally, a MERV rating of 5-8 can remove dust mites, pollen and other allergens. If you want it to filter even VOCs (volatile organic compounds), your filter needs a rating of 13-17. Ratings of 15-20 can filter many viruses.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters enjoy a generally positive view with consumers. They’re most effective at trapping particulate matter as tiny as 0.3 microns in diameter. That’s a lot smaller than a strand of hair, which is about 45 microns.
However, as effective as HEPA filters are, they’re also airtight, which means if your HVAC system isn’t compatible with a HEPA filter, the filter might not work correctly. Your HVAC unit may also have to use more power to force air through the filter, which can increase your energy bills.
Your choice of filter ultimately comes down to two things: personal preference and your HVAC system’s compatibility. Ask an expert to help you choose a filter.
Thomas J. Fannon & Sons can help you make this decision as well as install the filter for you. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in installing and maintaining a ductless split system. Call us now at (703) 549-5700 or fill out this form.