There are a variety of air cleaning systems that can help you make the air you breath cleaner and healthier. When used in conjunction with green home building methods humidifiers, dehumidifiers and heating and cooling systems you can dramatically improve your living area and your health.
So, lets take a look at some of the appliances and products you can use to clean your air.
If your home has a forced hot air heating system there are a number of filter types that you can use to reduce dust in your house. These filters come in 3 basic types. Fiberglass, Paper and Electrostatic a fourth type that is washable and reusable is also available and should be categorized in the paper classification.
Fiberglass Filters are the cheapest and capture only the largest particles of dust. For the most part using this type of filter should only be done when the system is first installed to allow to capture the large particles that are left in the system. They can also be used if you have duct cleaning performed. They should be changed every month or more frequently in dusty situations.
Paper based filters are the next step up and will capture much more dust from your home. They are of corrugated w shape design which increase the amount of filtration area. This filter type comes in sub quality grades. A very quick way to distinguish the filtration power of paper and fiberglass filters is to hold them up to the light and look through them.
Electrostatic or Carbon Filters are the higher grade of HVAC filters and although ere are many claims that come with this type of filter including its ability to filter out viruses you really need to take that with a grain of salt. Although they may be somewhat better then paper based filters the claims of being able to filter extremely small particles such as a virus or bacteria really can not be believed. If a $15 filter was able to stop viruses then computer and pharmaceutical companies would not spend millions of dollars building clean rooms they would just go down to the home store and buy a couple $15 filters. On the other hand so much air is pushed through the filters in your home HVAC system there is a probability that some viruses might stick to the filter while 99.99995% of the rest just pass through. Not to mention any filter that can stop a microscopic virus would also get clogged beyond use if regular home air filled with normal dust passed through it……
So, in our opinion a good quality paper filter that is changed often is your best bet for large dust particle catching.
What type of filter can be used to reduce viruses in the home?
Well there are UV light filters that can be placed in your HVAC system. They do not capture viruses or bacteria they simply use Ultraviolet Light to burn them to death.
How do they work? Well think of it like placing a fish on a hot piece of metal in the summer sun. Eventually that fish is going to die but if it jumps back into the water it will be ok.
UV Light filters kinda work like that they burn the bacteria and viruses but they have to cook them long enough or its just like the fish jumping back in the water.
So, installing a UV Filter is complex because you have to rate the light filter to the flow of air. Once installed they also have to be maintained. Just like a light bulb in your lamp loses power over time and you really don’t notice how much until you put a new one in the lamp and you go WOW thats much brighter…. UV filters degrade over time and they have to be changed at specific intervals that way there is always enough power to cook the fish like viruses. In other words if you need to kill viruses as a professional to install it for you and make sure you understand how to maintain it.
Now that we have covered the basic choices for HVAC full home filters lets look at what you can do on a room by room basis.
Portable Air Filters are often used in homes where there is Baseboard Electric or Oil Heat. There are a variety of different types that range in price and effectiveness. When considering the price of any portable filter you should consider the maintenance and consumables needed to run your filter.
Forced Air Units with paper and foam filters have been on the market for many years and can do a good job removing dust from your room. They work by circulating the air within the room through a filter. Usually there is a foam filter then a paper filter and sometimes a charcoal filter that are placed in succession within the system. The Foam Filter is meant to be removed and washed as needed based on the amount of larger dust particles that enter the unit. The paper filter is used to capture some of the particulate that the foam filter can not stop and is supposed to be changed every few months based on the amount of use your filter sees. Finally Carbon or Charcoal filters are used to remove some of the smells. These units cost anywhere from about $30 to $300 and can have advanced filters called hepa filters that are known to remove extremely small particulate from the room air.
Electrostatic or Ionizing Filters have gained popularity over the past 10 years most of us have seen the commercials on television where the filter is placed in a large box of smoke and then within a minute or so the box is clear of all particulate. Its actually true that these filters do work well and some reports have them out performing standard filters by 50 to 80% the only drawback is their cost. You can expect to pay upward of $100 for smaller models without fans but other manufacturers have merged both the fan and static charge elements to improve airflow over the collecting plates.
Overview of Filtering Methods
As we have discussed there are many different filter methods to reduce particulate, Polin Mold and even Viruses. The costs can range from $30 to maybe $1,000 and for the most part if you are in need of extended features you will have to pay that extra money. The important part that you have to remember is that Filtration alone will not make a dust free environment. Regular vacuum cleaning and dusting must me done along with choice of surfaces such as rugs or fabrics used in drapes and furniture all contribute to the overall health of your home.
You may have noticed that none of the filtration methods covered will improve dangerous situations like black mold, asbestos or airborne carcinogens or volatile chemicals and toxic fumes that are emitted from furniture and carpet binders, coatings, foams and adhesives.
If you feel that your home might be making you sick or that you want to improve the quality of your home’s air then you should consult an air quality specialist that works with specific lung or health problems. You should also consult your doctor.
For the rest of us that just want to get rid of some of the stuff floating around then our suggestion is that you vacuum and dust often and change your HVAC Filters as recommended. You should also consider personal portable filters as a supplement not a cure all.
The YouRepair Store sells all types of Personal and Home Air Filters at HUGE Discounts.
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