How do you maintain a clean and healthy home? The answer may be right under your nose. A national survey conducted by Radius Global Market Research revealed that while 60 percent of people worry about the quality of the air they breathe inside their homes, 26 million never change their air filters. Whether it’s our house filters, vacuum filters or your HVAC, filters are one of the simplest tools to help combat allergies, breathe cleaner air and help keep your home’s mechanical systems running well.
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If you’re forgetting the many benefits of filters, here’s a refresher:
Common Air Pollutants
Unfortunately, many different kinds of air pollutants may exist within your home, including pollen, dust mites, plant spores, fungi, mold, bacteria, pet dander and others. Most air purifiers utilize HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters to help remove these particles from the air in your home. HEPA filters are extremely effective and remove more than 99 percent of pollutant particles.
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, float around in the air of many homes. These chemicals turn into vapor at normal room temperatures. Some of them are known to be harmful to your health, especially in large accumulations. Some paints, coatings and other household substances contain VOCs that can be quite dangerous. Studies have shown that consistent indoor exposure to these VOCs can be linked to a higher risk of cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. Not all air purifiers have the capability to remove VOCs from the air inside your home. So, if VOC removal is a major concern for you, make sure you choose an air purifier with the ability to remove these chemicals.
Many air purifiers also utilize carbon filters to keep the air inside your home smelling fresh and clean. These filters absorb odor molecules as the air passes through the purifier. While odor removal may not be a direct health issue, a clean smelling home is definitely a big benefit for many homeowners.
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AN EASY FIX
Changing a filter may seem like a pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the top six tips when changing filters:
1. Turn off the unit first.
This puts your safety first and you won’t risk touching any live voltage. It also helps keep your unit safe. If your unit is still running while you’re removing the clogged filter, dust and debris can enter and cause it to malfunction.
2. Choose the right size.
Remove the filters that are currently in place and look at them carefully. Check out a rating system like MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). Based on a filter’s thickness it will point you in the right direction (the thicker the better, within limits), as can the brand name or dimensions you find on the filters you’re replacing.
3. Consider quality carefully.
Buy filters that are double framed, which are a higher quality and more durable than the ones found at big-box retailers.
4. Look for any gaps around the filter frame.
If there are gaps you may have the wrong size filter, or the filter itself may be defective or damaged.
5. Keep maintenance records.
Jot down the date of filter replacement on the side of the filter for the next time you inspect it. A filter that becomes dirty enough to change within a short period of time may mean there’s a problem with the system, so monitoring is important.
6. Inspect filters regularly.
Once the filters are installed, keep an eye on them. When they become saturated with dirt and particles, it’s time to replace them. A good reminder is to check them at the start of each season, or every three months on average.
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David Heacock is the founder and CEO of FilterBuy, a U.S. manufacturer of quality-made custom HVAC air filters, furnace filters and industrial filters. For more information, visit filterbuy.com.