There are a number of air contaminants that can create problems with the air quality which can cause discomfort in people that are sensitive to airborne particulates. These contaminants can include dust mites, pet dander and pollen. Air filtration for the whole house can bring increased comfort to family members who are sensitive to materials such as these.
Larger particles in the air are trapped by filters in all types of forced air cooling and heating systems. This means the inside components of the system are kept clean. More airborne particulates will be trapped if the filter is upgraded to one with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) and the quality of the air will be improved.
Extended Media Filters
These files require professional installation and trap many more particles than HVAC filters.
There is not enough space inside the compartment of the air handlers for these filters which are about eight inches thick and so they need to be placed inside the ductwork. Their surface area is increased through the use of filtration media and pleating. In order for the HVAC to run as efficiently as possible, the airflow inside the air handler may have to be adjusted by a contractor.
The filters should be replaced annually, or more often if necessary depending on the amount of airborne particulates that there are in the home. The air quality will be reduced if these filters are not replaced and air conditioning costs may also increase.
The highest MERV of all air filters is offered by HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) which is another kind of extended media filter. 99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns can be removed by this type of filter. It can be installed in the HVAC system or is available as a portable air cleaner. They are too thick to be used as an air filter alone as they will not fit in the frame and sufficient airflow cannot pass through the air handler.
Electronic Air Cleaners
Tobacco smoke and other small particles can be effectively removed from the air by these systems as an electrostatic charge is created through the use of electricity. Routine cleaning is required but the system will never need replacing. Regular cleaning helps this system work effectively, as it removes the airborne particles that become trapped as they pass through the system.
If people have health that is already compromised, or if they are very young or old then the lungs and nasal passages can be irritated by the small amount of ozone that is created by some of these cleaners.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
Organic airborne particulates are killed by this product instead of just being trapped. Mold spores, bacteria and viruses are mutated by the spectrum of sunshine known as ultraviolet (UV) light and this mutation prevents them reproducing. There is less chance that these organic particles will affect a person’s health if UVGI systems and HVAC air filters are used in conjunction with each other.
Indoor air quality is improved when using UVGI lights as they can also be used to control the growth of mold on the evaporator coil that is found on the inside of central cooling systems. This also improves the efficiency of the cooling system. Air filtration systems including UVGI systems are often used in healthcare settings, as they help to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.
There is a difference between air filters and air cleaners. Offending substances are altered by air cleaners, whereas the matter is held on the surface of a filter. Volatile organic compounds (VOCS), and gases such as ozone, carbon monoxide and radon, cannot be treated by either air cleaners or air filters. To help reduce the toxicity of these type of hazards appliances must be maintained properly and the home should be adequately ventilated.
The experts at Winter Haven Air Conditioning would be happy to advise customers on any questions you may have about improving air quality indoors. We have over 25 years experience in providing HVAC services for the entire region of central Florida.