Many Florida homeowners are surprised to discover that their indoor air contains a variety of contaminants including insect pieces and feces, fungal spore chains, people and pet dander, dust mites, pollen and viruses. Air filtration media vary in effectiveness at removing these and other harmful particulates.
Controlling indoor air quality is essential for children, the elderly and others sensitive to air pollutants. However, anyone living in polluted air may experience health consequences. Typical symptoms include fatigue, throat or lung irritation, dizziness, red eyes, headaches, asthma attack, allergic reactions, sneezing or mucous, symptoms similar to cold or flu, rashes, and/or aggravation of COPD symptoms.
According to their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings, common air filters achieve these levels of efficiency in arresting airborne particles.
- Disposable – synthetic material; MERV rating 5, arrestance rates 80-85 percent. Some types have MERV rating of 1-4 and arrestance rates of 70-75 percent.
- Cartridges – synthetic cube covered in a viscous material; MERV rating 6, arrestance 85-90 percent.
- Pleated – cotton-polyester blend, disposable, cardboard framing; MERV rating typically 7, arrestance efficiency is 90 percent or more.
- Electrostatic – panel of woven material, self-charging; MERV of 1, less than 65 percent arrestance.
- Washable – aluminum mesh; MERV of 2, arrestance 65-70 percent. Used in some window air conditioners.
- HEPA – finely-meshed fiberglass fibers; MERV of 17-20, arrestance greater than 99.97 percent.
HEPA filters are advisable if your home has air quality issues, occupants sensitive to airborne pollutants, high outdoor air pollution, wood-burning fireplace, frequent cooking, multiple people or pets, a smoker, synthetic materials in the construction or décor, and/or hobby crafts that impact air quality. HEPA filters are higher priced than less-efficient filters but can save money over time by protecting against illnesses caused by air pollution and by preserving the HVAC system as well as furnishings and other property inside the home.
Have your HVAC system evaluated by a professional to confirm that HEPA filtration is appropriate. Increased air-resistance with HEPA filtering (or any air filter with a high MERV rating) can damage weak fan motors.
Please contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating to speak with an expert on HEPA filtration. Since 1973, we’ve served our neighbors in Martin County, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Indian River counties.