Go Clean: Why It’s Important to Improve Your Home Air Quality and How to Do It
Doctors regularly remind us to wash our hands to prevent illness and hand sanitizer companies have made millions over the last few years promising to rid you of germs. But there is a silent and just as dangerous culprit – airborne germs.
As cases of illnesses such as asthma and allergies have increased, so have concerns about air quality. When most people think about dirty air, they think of the outdoor smog and air pollution in our cities. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air and lists it as one of the top five environmental health risks.
How to Keep Home Air Clean
The good news is that there’s a way to clean the indoor air in your home. Consider installing an air cleaning device. The most common type used in homes is a mechanical air filter because it removes particles such as dust, pollen, dust mite and cockroach allergens, some molds, and animal dander. These devices are designed to be installed in the ductwork of a home’s central heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system to clean the air in the whole house.
While portable air cleaners are available, they are not as effective because they only clean air in the room they are in, not the whole house.
Selecting the Right Filter
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has developed a measurement for air filters that is considered the industry standard for measurement. Efficiency is defined as how well the filter removes airborne particles from the air stream that passes through it and is measured by the MERV – minimum efficiency reporting value. MERV ratings range from a low of one to a high of 20.
The mechanical air filters most commonly used indoors with HVAC systems have a MERV of 1-4. These filters protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surfaces and offer medium efficiency on large particles, as long as they remain airborne and pass through the filter. These filters are not as efficient at getting rid of smaller particles.
To remove more of the smaller particles such as viruses, bacteria, some mold spores, cat and dog allergens, consider a medium-efficiency filter with a MERV of 5-13. HEPA filters are the most efficient – with a MERV of 17-20 – but installation of these in a residential HVAC system usually requires a professional modification of the system.
New Technology in Air Filters
For many years, hospitals have used ultraviolet (UV) light to keep germs at bay indoors. This technology is now finally being used in residential and commercial buildings as well.
Here’s how it works: Home HVAC systems generally re-circulate air 40-75 times a day. An UV generating lamp mounted in the HVAC duct kills any microorganism that comes into contact with the light, including in drain pans and the A/C coils. An ultraviolet system can significantly reduce indoor air contamination and prevent the growth of new microorganisms. This system should be used in conjunction with an air filtration system.
The Trane CleanEffects™ air filtration system combats small and large particles to remove 99.98% of airborne allergens. Most conventional air filters work by trapping dust and particles in a porous filter. But at the same time, they also stop the air from flowing as well, making you less comfortable. The technology used in the Trane CleanEffects system is designed to let air flow freely – killing unwanted allergens and keeping you cool at the same time.
Find the Right Fit For You
Chas Roberts can review these options in more detail for you and assist you in finding the right air cleaning solution for your home. Contact Chas Roberts at 602-328-5066 in Phoenix, 520-292-6858 in Tucson or click the “Schedule a Consultation” button on this to schedule an appointment.