Can Air Filters Ease Asthma and Allergies?

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, over 25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma. When asthma attacks occur, the chest tightens and the sufferer has a shortness of breath or wheeze. It can happen unexpectedly, and may be triggered by specific things in your everyday environment, or even allergies.

Pollutants and allergens such as pollen, ragweed, mold, pet dander and cigarette smoke are common triggers of both asthma and allergies. Therefore, it is essential to clear the home of as many impurities in the air as possible. While there are many methods of doing this, most people already have a tool to help—their furnace. Discover how your heating and cooling system can relieve your asthma symptoms.

  • Air Filters Make the Difference
    The purpose of a filter in the HVAC unit is to maintain your indoor quality by capturing dust and other pollutants. Furnace filters are essential for asthma and allergies, because the filter captures the pollen, mold, pet dander and common airborne allergens—keeping it out of the air. Cleaner indoor air can make a big difference in how easy it is to breathe indoors for those with respiratory conditions. This is why it is important to change your air filters frequently.
  • What Filter Should You Use?
    Choosing an air filter to help prevent asthma symptoms requires research because each filter has a rating called a MERV. First, you want to use a filter that fits your system. Getting a precise measurement and MERV rating is important, so the filter can function efficiently. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing allergens and airborne pollutants. Consider a filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 13 for the best results.

As you can see, it is vital that you choose the right furnace filter and change them regularly. Not only will doing this keep the air that flows through your home cleaner and healthier for you and your family, but it may also reduce heating and cooling costs too.


Air Filter vs Air Purifier

You’ve probably wondered if there’s much difference between an air filter and air purifier. The quick and simple answer to this question is ‘YES’. Although they both work to alleviate contaminants inside your home, they do it in very different ways.

How Does an Air Filter Work?

Air filters for the home are part of your HVAC system. They allow air to re-circulate back through your home after filtering out impurities such as pet dander, dead skin, cigarette smoke, pollen, among others. The air filters help your HVAC system run at peak performance and extend the life of the HVAC unit by keeping dust and dirt from entering the ducts. Over time, the filter will become clogged with the debris that it removes from the air, loosing efficiency. This is why it’s so important to replace your air filter every 30 to 90 days, depending upon the filter type.

A clean air filter has a tremendous impact on the quality of air inside your home. Air filters for allergy season can help alleviate a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and wheezing by catching allergens in the air.

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

A typical air purifier uses the same method for filtration to remove pollutants from the air such as cigarette smoke, pollen, dust, etc.  In this way, it removes the same sort of impurities that home air filters do, and some people use them to specifically remove odors.

There are several types of air purifiers and each work a bit differently. You just have to pick the better fit for your needs. For example, the activated carbon purifier is commonly used to remove odors from the air, but falls short when it comes to removing pollen, dust or other fine particles.

Sources: GAC Services, Air Care Online, My Air Purifier

 


Myths about Air Filters: BUSTED!

Let’s face it, you’ve postponed purchasing replacement HVAC air filters because you haven’t really realized how important they are for air quality of your home. Your HVAC system works constantly to keep your family warm in winter and cool in summer while improving the quality of the air. Therefore, we have compiled this list to set the record straight of common myths that you have heard or seen circulating about air filters.

One

Air Filters Only Minimize Dust – FALSE! While a quality air filter will do a lot to minimize the dust in your home, there is so much more a filter can do! Many filters can reduce the impact of pet dander and help eliminate mildew, viruses and bacteria in your home. If you invest in air filters for allergy season, you can reduce the impact of common allergens the entire family.

Two

My Filters Don’t Need to Be Changed That Often – FALSE! The experts are correct on this one, you need to change your filter every month. If you typically buy air filters with higher MERV Ratings such as MERV 11 or 13, then it is recommended that your filter changes every THREE months. However, if you have respiratory ailments such as asthma or allergies, monthly air filter changes still apply. This rule is especially strict on smokers and those with indoor pets, regardless of MERV rating.

Three

I Can Run My Furnace Without a Filter – FALSE! Running your furnace without the filter is a huge no-no! Without a filter, dust, dirt and debris will be allowed to blow freely throughout the home. Furthermore, you don’t want an expensive HVAC bill because this can cause significant damage to your HVAC unit. This practice is quite hazardous and could be costly.

Four

All Filters Are the Same – FALSE! There are different styles and types of filters. The air filter you choose is based on the current conditions of your home. If someone in your home has severe allergies or asthma, it makes sense to choose a filter that is designed to catch allergens. Others have many variations such as odor reduction, fiberglass, deep pleats or washable.

Five

If the Filter Fits, It Works – FALSE! If you have an HVAC filter that is not a perfect fit, it will not work as well and can lead to problems with your unit. Various brands such as Honeywell and Carrier, works better with filters belonging to that brand or replacements. To ensure you purchase a replacement air filter that fits perfectly, annotate the measurements. If there are no measurements displayed on the filter, you may need to measure your filter.

Six

There is No Wrong Way to Install Air FiltersFALSE! Arrows are key for installing the air filter the correct way. When installing air filters for the home, check out the arrows that indicate the air flow on your filter and your unit. If there are no arrows on your unit, you may need to refer to your owner’s manual. Installing the filter, the right way will make a big difference in how well the filter operates.

Seven

Air Filters Don’t Help with Allergies or Asthma – FALSE! While an air filter may not be a miracle cure for asthma or severe allergies, a filter can improve symptoms-especially when utilized with other preventative measures. In an article by WebMD, the EPA and the American Lung Association both recommend the use of air filters to reduce allergy or asthma symptoms.

As you can see, there are quite a few myths floating around when it comes to HVAC air filters.

 


MERV vs. MPR vs. FPR: Navigating Through Air Filter Rating Systems

Choosing the right air filter can be a daunting task. Have you wondered why there are 3 different rating systems? Certain brands have created their own rating system but, at the end of the day, they are rating the SAME filter! Unaware consumers often find themselves paying premium prices at grocery stores or big box retailers. Learn the facts and your next purchase will be much easier on your wallet.

MERV Rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the primary rating system used in the industry, both domestically and internationally. Established by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers), MERV rates a filter’s ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants.

MPR (Micro-Particle Performance Rating) is a rating system developed by 3M. It rates the manufacturer’s filters and their ability to capture airborne particles smaller than 1 micron

FPR (Filter Performance Rating) is a rating system developed by The Home Depot for brands sold through their stores, including Honeywell. It utilizes a color and number scale from 4 to 10 that closely resembles MERV rating.

The below chart will help you understand which of the ratings are comparable to each other:

MERV MPR FPR Efficiency Change Frequency
6 300 n/a Captures lint,household dust and pollen 30 Days
8 600 5/Green MERV 6 + dust mites & mold spores 90 Days
11 1000 – 1200 7/ Red MERV 8 + smoke, smog, cough/sneeze & pet dander 90 Days
13 1500 -1900 10/Blue MERV 11 + virus carries, odors & bacteria. 90 Days

Pet Owners: What You Should Know About Pet Allergens

How Can Pet Allergens Affect You?

We love our pets! But pet dander can trigger allergic reactions or asthma symptoms in certain individuals. The severity of the symptoms may vary from person to person, but  it usually includes congestion, sneezing, runny nose, chest tightness, itching, watery eyes, rashes and more. For these people that suffer severe allergies, breathing pet dander and allergens can lead to all those symptoms and even asthma.

What is Pet Dander?

Pet dander is composed of tiny flecks of skin shed. Because these particles are so lightweight, they can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time and will stick to your furniture, bedding and carpets, making dander easy to spread around your home. Pets also bring pollen, dust and other common pollutants from outside, aggravating symptoms for allergy sufferers.

How Can Pet Owners Control Air Quality at Home?

If you are extremely sensitive to these types of allergens, you should know by now that it may not be a good idea to have pets in the home. However, for many of us, our pets are very important members of our family so taking the right precautions is necessary to maintain good air quality at home.

Keep pets out of bedrooms and not allowing them on furniture, especially upholstery, may be a good way to start. Avoid carpeting rooms if possible and do not allow dust to accumulate on surfaces by constantly vacuuming or dusting the home. Finally, make sure you use a high quality air filter with superior air filtration and efficiency so pet allergens are properly captured and do not return to your air. For people with chronic allergies, we recommend a MERV 11 filter or higher to trap as much allergens as possible. You will also need to change your filter regularly to maintain maximum efficiency and better air quality.