Pollutants in our air are rated as one of the top environmental health risks that can affect us on a daily basis. These pollutants also exist in our homes; they include mildew, mold, dust, pollen and other sources, that can cause a variety of health issues. Typically those of us with asthma, allergies, and respiratory illnesses are more sensitive to these pollutants and are affected first. Modern construction techniques are focused on providing airtight construction for minimizing drafts and maximizing energy efficiency. Unfortunately, this also keeps the polluted air indoors and prevents fresh air from coming into the home. Let’s look at some of the options for improving the air quality in your home.
The Options for Improving Indoor Air Quality
There are essentially two options or approaches that you can adopt to improve the quality of the air in your home. First, you can periodically open doors and windows to ventilate your home and allow cleaner air in from outside. Secondly, you could use an air filter product to remove the indoor air pollutants and provide cleaner air. The first option is simple, but it can cause problems if you have poor quality air outdoors from pollution or pollen. For this reason, the second option is the one that we will be exploring in more detail below. There are different types of air filters available to choose from and here are three of the most popular options in ascending order of effectiveness.
Fiberglass Air Filters
Fiberglass air filters are inexpensive; they have a medium efficiency rating of 1-4 for filtering a variety of airborne pollutants. They have a lower efficiency rating for filtering other pollutants, such as pet dander, dust mites, bacteria, and viruses. They are made of layered fibers of fiberglass that are reinforced with metal grating and are usually disposable. The surface of this air filter is flat and thin to trap particles of air, but little else. The primary function of this type of air filter is to prevent particulates from entering your HVAC system and causing damage.
Pleated Media Air Filters
This is a disposable pleated air filter made from polyester, and it’s more efficient than a fiberglass air filter with a rating of 5-13. It can remove up to 45% of airborne pollutants thanks to the increased surface area in the pleats that can trap both large and smaller particles. There even more efficient pleated filters available that have an efficiency rating of 7-13 and these are compatible with high efficiency particulate air filter systems.
HEPA Air Filters
A HEPA air filter is the best filter for cleaning airborne particles, and it has an efficiency rating of 17-20. The HEPA filter can remove 98% of airborne particles and pollutants from the indoor air in your home. The only downside is that a HEPA filter cannot be accommodated by most residential HVAC systems and the furnace may need to be adapted by a trusted professional to use them.