We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the air in your Cleveland home is rife with pollutants that can exacerbate existing respiratory conditions and even cause new ones down the road. Mold spores and pollen are common culprits, but perhaps the most terrifying of them all is the teeny tiny dust mite, a microscopic member of the arachnid family that excretes about 20 droppings a day. Right this minute, your bed alone is home to between two and 10 million of these critters.
Knowing what type of air filter will provide the best air cleaning benefits is a matter of understanding the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, which tells you how effective a filter is at removing a certain number of certain sized particles.
MERV 1 to 4
These flat, cheap air filters do little more than protect the HVAC system against larger particles that can damage essential components, trapping less than 20 percent of pollutants larger than 10 microns, such as pollen and carpet fibers. Although they're inexpensive, they need to be replaced more often than better filters.
MERV 5 to 8
Trapping up to 70 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns in size, including mold spores and dust mite droppings, these pleated air filters are usually the minimum level you ought to consider for the majority of indoor air quality needs.
MERV 9 to 13
If anyone in your home suffers from or is susceptible to a respiratory condition, MERV 9 to 13 filters are the way to go. They trap up to 90 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns and up to 80 percent of those between 1 and 3 microns, including lead dust and some bacteria. This level is also the best level for protection of the investment that you have made in your HVAC system.
Replace the Air Filter Regularly
Experts recommend that you inspect the air filter monthly. When it's dirty, replace it with a clean one to improve indoor air quality, maintain adequate airflow to the system and prevent dust from building up on essential interior components.
A final note - higher efficiency filters add resistance to airflow that can sometimes exceed the rating of your existing HVAC system. Make sure that you system is rated for the added resistance before selecting higher efficiency filters.
For more advice about choosing and replacing air filters, please feel free to contact us in the Greater Cleveland area at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.