Prioritize your indoor air to protect your health
Mold and bacteria are probably spreading throughout your house right now.
If you have central air conditioning, heat pump or any type of forced warm air heating or ventilating system (HVAC), inadequate air filtration could be allowing dangerous mold and bacteria strains inside your home’s living space. Fewer than 10% of residential forced air systems use filters capable of preventing mold and bacteria growth.
Mold and bacteria contamination can trigger, or exacerbate respiratory problems, including allergies and asthma and certain molds even produce toxins that are linked to cancer. Prevent mold by controlling the moisture in your home and provide enough ventilation throughout your home.
Paying big money for high-end air filtration systems or devices does not necessarily solve this problem. Many expensive filtration products do little to improve air quality.
Here’s what works and what doesn’t work:
- Use a better air filter
Most homeowners use a fiberglass panel filter that has a MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of just 3 or 4. We suggest at least using a pleated filter that carries a MERV rating of 8 or higher. These filters are readily available at Home Improvement Stores like Home Depot or Lowes for around $5 to $10 each. Make sure you measure the filter compartment size before buying your upgraded filter or look to see the size stamped on the old fiberglass filter. Remember, don’t worry about the manufacturer, simply concern yourself with the MERV rating and also remember to replace these throwaway filters every 90 days of use! Learn more about air filter maintenance.
- Consider larger filters with a MERV rating of 10 or greater
These filters are deeper (4 inches or more) and normally do not fit into the filter space already present. An HVAC contractor would be needed to fit up new housing for these larger pleated type filters. However, the deeper designs allow better less restricted airflow and do not increase the overall cost of the HVAC system operation. The expense, many times $700 to over $1,000 for this type of installation, can be well worth the investment when there are health problems, like serious allergies and lung issues, in the family. Many families will run the HVAC system’s fan 24 hours a day, whether heating, cooling or neither, to optimize the filtering of the indoor air and keep family members healthy.
- Keep the system clean
If you’ve used the MERV rated filters at 3 and 4 in the past, you should consider a whole home duct cleaning before upgrading the air filter. The new filter WILL NOT kill existing mold and bacteria ONLY prevent new problems from occurring. Please remember that a proper duct system cleaning also includes a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system’s fan and blower motor compartment, plus the fan, which will keep mold spores from continuing to spread through the ducts and thus eventually into the home. Hire a professional for regular air conditioning maintenance!
- Sophisticated air purification
HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) have impressive MERV ratings of 16 or more and are a bypass type of filter, which simply means they filter only a small percentage of the air with each circulation cycle and are not designed to remove existing mold and bacteria. As stated before, before any filter improvement is completed, it is highly recommended that a full duct system cleaning be performed first!
Electronic air filters attach an electrical charge to particles that pass through them, then collect the charged particles on an oppositely charged metal plate. This is great technology but to work at their high design efficiency, the units should be cleaned every 30 to 60 days of operational use.
- Ultraviolet light air purifiers
Ultraviolet-light air purifiers have been greatly improved for residential applications. Ultraviolet air purifiers use ultraviolet light to kill airborne pathogens and microorganisms including mold, bacteria, and viruses. They are now sized to match the size of the home and are been proven to help eliminate bacteria and some germ strains. The new Air Scrubber Plus’s NEW TECHNOLOGY is the very best offering today in-home air filtration. So much so, that we wrote about this technology already and you can re-read about it here.
In order to combat the harmful effects of mold and bacteria in the home, it is essential to re-think the way you are filtering the air that circulates through your home. It has been shown, again and again, that filtered “fresh air” is very important for a happy and healthy home.
Your HVAC experts at ServiceMark Heating Cooling & Plumbing have been advising and directly helping homeowners with heating and cooling problems and needs since 1951. Your local ServiceMark team stands ready to advise you and offer solutions and options for the proper air filtration needed in your particular home.
Please call us and let us know how we can help!