Written by Brad Crawford
Home air filters will help your Dallas home’s HVAC system to fight fall allergies. But, not if they are improperly maintained. Just like any other filter, a home air filter can fill up with the most undesirable dander and substances causing a blockage. To be safe, replacing your home air filter on a monthly basis will ensure that you are best covered against allergens.
The truth is, no matter how much you wash your hands, bathe, vacuum your carpets our just stay indoors, ragweed, mold spores and dust mites are going to get in. And, if you do not have adequate circulation in your house, then your home air filter cannot do its job.
Home air filters are only effective when the air moves through them. They can remove those nasty fall allergens that wreak havoc on your body, but not without proper circulation. The more circulation your home has, the better job your filters going to do for you. Make sure that air ducts and returns have been placed in sufficient places in your home, with no obstructions, to ensure that all air circulates in and out of them.
Your air ducts are another place that mold can spawn. They are also a haven for rodents and insects, so it is important to have your home air filter in place to filter everything out. In most cases you air ducts are not accessible or visible. So in these situations you may need to consider calling a professional out to inspect and possibly clean the ducts if necessary.
What most people fail to realize is that your in-home air can actually be much more polluted than the air outside. This is due to a number of factors which include tracking mold and ragweed in from outdoors, pet dander (skin flakes, saliva, urine, etc.), insect droppings and other pollen. When inside, these pollutants become trapped. They then bond with your household fabrics such as carpet, bed sheets, pillows and rugs. Once they have bonded with these fabrics, every time they get touched the allergens become airborne and you are their unwilling host. When they become airborne, they can also be sent through the air returns and filtered out by your home air filter.
Home air filter that have the highest MERV ratings are the most effective defense against allergens. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Recording Value. The scale is 1 – 20 and the higher the MERV, the better filtration you are going to get. Yet, before you grab the highest MERV rating available, it is important that you first check with your HVAC manufacturer’s recommendations.
The higher the MERV rating, the more particles it can collect, but that also means the HVAC system has to work harder to get the air through it. This means that you have to weigh efficiency with allergen protection to choose the best home air filter for your individual instance.
For example, you might option for a standard flat panel filter, which has a low MERV rating, but a maximum efficiency. These work fine, but they are only intended to protect the furnace and not cut down on your fall allergies. Home air filters like these provide up to four MERV’s of protection. If you have severe fall allergies, you might want to look into something that can protect you from the ragweed a little better.
Pleated home air filters are considered a medium efficiency air filter. They generally protect you with a MERV rating of about 13. But remember, the more MERV’s, the harder your HVAC system has to work to get the air through. This is also the case with high efficiency filters and HEPA filters. Although they are both going to do a great job of protecting you from fall allergies, you will want to consider how efficient your system is going to be when it comes to paying the electric bill.
It is of imperative importance that you change your home air filter frequently, regardless of your MERV rating. If your house has a lot of dust, maybe from construction, sanding or outside dust getting in, your filters are going to clog quickly. You do not want your HVAC system to become more costly than it has to be. If you are using a medium efficiency filter, it might be a good idea to change it monthly.
If you do find mold growth near your returns, make sure to get them cleaned out as soon as possible. If you are considering upgrading your HVAC system, you might option to get a unit that does not continually use indoor air. Using filtered outdoor air could be a good way to handle any circulation issues you may be having. Sending the old air out and the new filtered air in is a great way help eliminate indoor allergens.
But still, a system that uses outdoor air needs to have an adequate home air filter. It is the season for ragweed and as we all know, this causes hay fever. A medium efficiency filter will do, but then you fall back into making sure that it is continuously changed out. Most people who have suffered from allergies have seen a drastic difference in their symptoms when they simply changed out their home air filter monthly, instead of every three months.
And, the benefits will be seen way beyond your health. Many homeowners who up the frequency of their home air filter changes also notice a difference in their electricity bill. A clogged filter forces your HVAC unit to work excessively hard to get the air through. Just like with any forced air system, obstructions diminish the flow of air. Changing out your home air filter means better health and saving money. That’s just a win-win situation.
The simple truth is, there are a lot of ways that you can get sick or put your health at risk. The last way you want this to happen is through airborne fall allergens. A home air filter fights allergens for you constantly and can help keep you healthy and active for a very long time.