Allergies are annoying. Constant sneezing, dry eyes, sore throat, the whole lot drives a vast number of people insane, and if you’re one of them, you know just how frustrating they can be. What if we told you that indoor air pollution can trigger your symptoms quicker and more severely than what you’re facing outdoors? Indoor air pollutant levels are two to five times higher than the pollutant levels outside. Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, and are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. (1)
Common indoor allergens can be a number of things, from pet dander or mold, to dust mites and pollen it’s hard to determine the exact cause in your home without the help of a professional. When these pollutants become airborne, you’re breathing them in which causes your allergies to flare. The HVAC system in your home harbors and then spreads these allergens throughout your home, but you can manage this through proper repair and maintenance.
HVAC filters come in many different shapes and sizes, and the effectiveness of each one is measured in minimum efficiency recording value, or MERVs. Filters are typically placed on a scale of 1 to 20, with 20 being the most effective. Most HVAC systems are originally manufactured with a flat panel filter, that is somewhere between a one and four on the MERV scale. These original filters are not meant to improve your air quality, but are in place to protect the furnace, making them an obvious addition to the discard pile.
Medium and high efficiency filters range from five to sixteen, they cover a larger surface area by utilizing pleats to filter more particles out of the air. The farther up the scale, the more particles are being filtered out. High-efficiency particulate air filters (or HEPA filters) are somewhere between 17 and 20 MERV’s, but are not recommended for centralized home HVAC systems. They are high energy and can be too efficient for certain HVAC systems, putting them into overdrive. While you may think that purchasing the highest grade filter available will be best for your home, it’s suggested to stick with medium efficiency filters, to avoid stressing your HVAC system prior to an upgrade.
These filters should be replaced every two months, with your specific HVAC maintenance plan carefully followed. If the air quality in your home is still poor and you suspect there is mold, request a professional to come out and clean your air ducts. An HVAC system that replaces indoor air with filtered outdoor air can also be a great investment for those with extreme allergies, or if you’re looking to upgrade your system. These systems increase the ventilation in your home and reduce indoor pollution. Either way, call and get a quote on services to see how we can help you feel better in your own home!