If you are plagued by allergies and you are finding a way to reduce the allergens in your home, an air filter just might help you. An air filter is the most common, and also the most helpful way to combat with the allergens.
But always remember, minimizing your exposure to other allergens in the home is the first line of attack in reducing allergic and asthmatic reactions.
Air Filters for Allergies and Asthma
Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association recommend air filtration for people with allergies and asthma. There are four basic types of air filters for allergies and asthma.
1, Mechanical filters
The mechanical filters force air through a special screen that traps particles including allergens like pollen, pet dander, pet hair and dust mites. They also capture irritant particles such as tobacco smoke, kitchen and pet odors.
The most well-known mechanical filter is the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA was developed during World War II to prevent radioactive particles from escaping from laboratories. Since then, this HEPA filter is the most effective ways at capturing airborne allergens.
To qualify as a true HEPA filter, the air filter must be able to capture at least 99% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns that enter it. There are filters on the market that claim to be HEPAs, but may not be as efficient, so look for a system that meets true HEPA filtration standards.
2, Electronic filters
These filters use electrical charges to attract and deposit allergens and irritants. If the device contains collecting plates, the particles are captured within the system; otherwise, they stick to room surfaces and have to be cleared away. The most efficient filters are electrostatic paper filters combining with a powerful fan.
Using both electronic filters and mechanical filters, we can have hybrid filters. These filters are especially helpful at dealing with lots of tiny particles of allergens.
3, Gas phase filters
The gas phase filters are also known as the activated carbon filters or charcoal filters. These filters remove odors and non-particulate pollution such as cooking gas, gasses emitted from paint or building materials, and perfume.
However, they do not remove allergens.
4, Ozone generators
These are devices that intentionally produce ozone, which manufacturers claim cleans the air. They are not recommended by the EPA or the American Lung Association because ozone can be harmful to lungs at high concentrations.
Still, if you want to choose an ozone generators, you could check the devices which does not produce ozone levels above 0.05 parts per million, either intentionally or as a by-product of its design, to accomplish with the American Lung Association advice.
Air Filters for Allergies – HVAC system
HVAC is an important part of residential structures such as single family homes, apartment buildings, and hotels. An HVAC system is designed to control the environment in which it works.
You can read more about HVAC here: What Is An HVAC System?
The acronym MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It is the standard rating system used by the HVAC industry. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, also known as ASHRAE, designed the MERV metric.
MERV ratings for HVAC air filters range from one to 20. However, for residential HVAC air filters, homeowners only need to be familiar with MERV ratings between one and 16.
The higher the number, the more efficient HVAC air filters are. MERV ratings communicate minimum efficiency, which means they rate the very least performance homeowners can expect.
HVAC air filters with a MERV rating between one and four offer minimal filtration. They capture particulate matter greater than 10.0 microns. These HVAC air filters are typically used for window units and residential areas.
HVAC air filters with MERV 1 to 4 capture at least:
- Dust mites
- Spray particles
- Carpet and textile fibers
HVAC air filters with a MERV rating between five and eight capture particulate matter between 3.0 and 10.0 microns. These HVAC air filters are usually applied to residential homes, workplaces and buildings.
HVAC air filters with MERV 5 to 8 capture at least:
- Microbiological growth
- Hair sprays and fabric protectors
- Cement and pudding mixes
HVAC air filters with a MERV rating between nine and 12 capture particulate matter between 1.0 and 3.0 microns. These HVAC air filters are generally used in commercial buildings and laboratories.
HVAC air filters with MERV 9 to 12 capture at least:
- Legionella (pneumonia)
- Humidifier dust (mineral dust)
- Emissions and fumes
HVAC air filters with a MERV rating between 13 and 16 capture particulate matter between .30 and 1.0 microns. Typically, these HVAC air filters are used for hospitals, smoking lounges and commercial buildings.
HVAC air filters with MERV 13 and 16 capture at least:
- All bacteria
- Tobacco smoke
- Sneeze particle
MERV is the most standard method of measuring the filtration efficiency of HVAC air filters.
We thank Service Champion for this helpful knowledge.
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