Whether air filters significantly reduce indoor allergens or clean indoor air is a subject of some debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not taken a position for or against consumer use of air filters. While an air filter can’t substitute for limiting your exposure to indoor air pollution and promoting proper ventilation, it can help purify the air in your home. Find out how air filters and portable air purifiers can work to boost your St. Petersburg, Florida, home’s indoor air quality.

Understand Air Filter Efficiency Ratings

Air filters are not rated by the percentage of air pollutants that the filter can remove, but by their ability to transfer a specific amount of filtered air to a room. For example, if an air filter removes 99 percent of air pollutants, but it can clean only 10 cubic feet of room space per minute, it won’t be effective in a room measuring 1,000 cubic feet. 

When comparing air-filtering devices, you need to consider the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which notes the number of cubic feet of filtered air that a unit can deliver per minute. When you see information detailing the efficiency rating of air filters, that efficiency rating refers to the ability of the air filters to remove respirable pollutant particles from the air. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are at the high end of this efficiency rating scale. To earn the HEPA designation, a standard set by the U.S. government, a filter must be able to capture at least 99.97 percent of particles larger than 0.3 microns in size.

Know the Types of Furnace Filters: Mechanical vs. Electronic

Not all air filters used in your home’s HVAC system are created equally. Two of the most common types you will encounter are mechanical and electronic filters. Below we explain how each of these types of filters works to create comfortable, breathable air inside your home.

Mechanical Filters

Flat furnace filters, also called panel filters, are made of rough glass fibers, animal hair, vegetable fibers, and synthetic fibers. These fibers are coated with an oily material to attract and collect a large number of particulates. 

Flat filters can be made of permanently charged plastic film or fiber; pollutant particles become attracted to this charge. Pleated furnace filters are more efficient at attracting and capturing particles than flat filters. Since pleated filters have a greater surface area to them, they can be made of smaller fibers to increase efficiency without decreasing airflow through the filter.

Electronic Filters

Electronic air filters are also known as electrostatic precipitators or charged-media filters. These air filters are electrified to yield a static charge. This charge makes them more efficient at capturing particles than mechanical filters. Be aware, however, that the cost of these filters can be higher than the cost for mechanical filters.

Ponder Portable Air Purifiers

Portable air purifiers draw air into the units using fans. Once inside, the air gets filtered by the air purifier, and the unit releases the filtered air back into your room. A mechanical filter inside the unit absorbs particulates. Some types of units may also use activated carbon to absorb odors and special types of filters to capture large particles.

Placing air purifiers properly in your home is important. For best results, place the units near a pollutant source, such as a kitchen range or an open window, so that clean air can immediately be brought into the living space. 

Just as regular maintenance for your home’s heating and air conditioning systems is important, you also need to regularly maintain an air purifier. Clean and replace the filters inside the air purifier following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next to air filters and air purifiers, a properly functioning HVAC system is essential to helping you achieve the best indoor air quality for your home. Our service specialists at Pinellas Comfort Systems can help you achieve comfortable, clean air inside your home. Call us to schedule an indoor air quality assessment: 727-201-5879.

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