There are several factors to consider when choosing a filtration system, starting with sensitivity to allergens. The more sensitive a person is to allergens, the greater the need for a high-efficiency filtration system.
The efficiency of the air filter should be a top consideration. Efficiency is based on the size of the particles captured by an air filter. The higher the efficiency, the more effective it will be. Look for the filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) number, a new industry standard for rating filters based on their performance. Residential filters typically have an MERV range of one to 12. Higher ratings indicate more efficient filters.
Higher filter efficiency not helps clear the air, but it also improves airflow. Generally, the more efficient a filter is, the less airflow reduction there will be.
Cost is another major factor—both in terms of the initial purchase price and expense of maintenance and upgrades. Purchasing a filter of reasonably high quality can save you money over the long term. Inexpensive filters may not provide the level of filtration you need and may also require frequent filter replacement.
Among the many filtration systems available are pleated filters, which are constructed of fiberglass or synthetic fibers woven into a more dense material. The pleats are arranged in V-shaped forms to increase the area of the filter material without increasing the face area. This increases the particle-holding capability.
Germicidal lights use intense ultraviolet light to sterilize surfaces. Each solution removes particles, bioaerosols and chemicals, depending on the size of the allergen.
Electronic air cleaners (EACs) are highly efficient and clean the air by taking recirculated air and passing it through a prefilter that traps the large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to the remaining particles. A negatively charged collecting section collects the particles. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are also very effective at small-particle removal.
Activated carbon and microbiocide-treated filters can also purify your home’s air. Both the carbon and the microbiocide-treated filters remove odor and kill bacteria, but the carbon filters are more effective at removing odor, and the microbiocide-treated filters trap bacteria as the air is pulled through, which inhibits growth of biological contaminants.
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