If you’re an allergy sufferer, summer can be especially difficult, especially if pollen counts are high. Dayton boasts one of the worst averages for those who suffer from allergies, with a score of 88.3 from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
What can you do for relief? Medications, of course, can help, but it’s imperative that you clean up your indoor air to minimize allergy symptoms. In fact, indoor air can be significantly more contaminated with allergens than outdoor air. This is mainly because indoor air tends to get stale, without aggressive ventilation strategies. Using HEPA filters in your air conditioning system can technically provide the air filtration needed, but they are not generally suited for your home’s HVAC system. They work best in specific applications and in large systems with high-volume, high-pressure forced airflow.
What HEPA filters work well for
Homeowners can use HEPA, or “high-efficiency particulate air,” filters, in stand-alone air-cleaning units that filter air in a room or small area, and in vacuum cleaner filters that trap dust and other airborne particles on carpets, drapes and furniture instead of simply being released into the air.
However, HEPA filters usually can’t be used in residential HVAC systems without significant modifications to those systems. Why? HEPA filters are extremely dense so that they can catch the tiniest particulates. Because of this, they need a lot of air pressure or energy to force airflow through the filters, something residential HVAC systems generally can’t handle.
A better choice
A better choice is a standard residential filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) in the 7-12 range. The MERV scale runs from 1-20, with HEPA filters running from 17-20. MERV filters in the intermediate range can efficiently clean the air without impeding airflow and causing your HVAC system to struggle and ultimately break down. They work well in residential and other small, noncommercial environments, and provide a good balance between maintaining clean indoor air and allowing free airflow.
Make sure to regularly inspect the filter, and change it when it looks dirty, or as specified by your HVAC manufacturer.
If you have questions or aren’t sure what filter to use, we can help. Contact Detmer and Sons, Inc. We’re experienced contractors and have been serving customers in the Dayton and Springfield areas with their heating and cooling needs since 1978.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HEPA filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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