Breathe Clean Air this Winter!

dirty-air-ductIt’s the time of year when everyone is going to start closing the doors and turning on the heat! It’s more important now more than ever, to look at having your air ducts and dryer vent professionally cleaned. Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors on a regular basis; this percentage goes way up in the winter months due to the cold weather. Add that with the fact that the air inside your home can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside; and you can see why it’s a good idea to make sure the air in your home is as clean as it can be.

Along with regular air duct cleaning (typically every 3 to 5 years) it’s a good idea to have a high-efficiency air filtration system. Now, I’m not talking about the $17 to $30 filter that’s only 1″ thick. I’m talking about a 4″ or 5″ pleated filter with a high MERV rating.

The acronym MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. The MERV rating is the standard method for comparing the efficiency of an air filter. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at removing particles from the air.

The MERV scale ranges from 1 (least efficient) to 16 (most efficient), and measures a filter’s ability remove particles from 3 to 10 microns in size. Filters with higher ratings not only remove more particles from the air, they also remove smaller particles. A typical fiberglass furnace filter might be rated from 1 to 4 on the MERV scale. A HEPA filter would be rated a 16.

Problem #1. We have found, through our experience; that most 1″ pleated filters with a high MERV rating will only last approximately 30 days (give or take). This is because there is not a lot of surface area for the particulates to accumulate. This problem with these filters is; they typically say “90 Days” on the packaging. Most homeowners will leave them in 90+ days before changing them. When the filter stays in for that amount of time and accumulates all of the dust and dirt; it becomes restrictive, therefore making your blower motor work harder to pull air through the filter. This is why many blower motors go out in furnaces; because the filter is too restrictive and not changed on a regular basis.

Problem #2. When you start to have the problem of restriction with a 1″ pleated filter; most HVAC companies will tell you to stick with a low-end filter that costs anywhere from $0.70 to $3. These filter do a poor job of filtering the air in your home. We call them “boulder catchers” because they catch the large debris but don’t do a good job of catching the particulates that are causing your allergies, etc.

This is why we recommend having your HVAC company install a high efficiency air cleaner; whether it’s a 4″ or 5″ pleated filter, a H.E.P.A. filtration system, or an Electronic Air Cleaner. Please note that most Electronic Air Cleaners or “E.A.C”‘s, require monthly cleaning/maintenance. If you are someone, like me, that doesn’t know if they’ll have time to clean it once a month; or remember to for that matter, then I would stick with a 4″ or 5″ pleated filter with a MERV rating of 10 to 13. Some models have to be changed every 6 to 9 months; others can be changed every 12 to 24 months (don’t hold me to those averages; they can change depending on the household and the amount of activity in the home).

If you have any questions about the indoor air quality in your home or would like to schedule your Air Duct Cleaning; please give us a call at 317-733-1012. Or visit our website at Mite-E-Ducts Inc.