Improve Indoor Air Quality
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Being a homeowner is tough, there’s so much more to remember and consider than you ever thought possible. From cleaning the gutters to evicting pest(y) tenants in your attic, you’ve got a lot on your plate! We get it, and we want to make things a little easier for you, so we’ve provided a short and sweet rundown on improving Indoor Air Quality in your home! After all, it kind of is our thing.
Top 3 Most Important Things:
1. The symptoms related to asthma, allergy and respiratory conditions can be significantly reduced in a home with great indoor air quality.
2. Reducing children’s exposure to airborne pathogens will reduce the chance that they develop asthma, allergies, or respiratory conditions throughout their lives. They’re far more susceptible to these conditions than adults.
3. Home indoor air quality can be managed easily and inexpensively. Improving ventilation and filtration, and reducing contaminants have been shown to provide substantial relief.
The easiest place to start improving indoor air quality? Your Air Filter!
Clean filters improve not only the air within a home, but they also increase the efficiency of your furnace. This one may blow your mind, but… filters can only clean the air when there's air going through them. So that means, when the system is off, no filtering is happening.
You may have heard the advice to put the fan in the "On" position instead of in "Auto." But not so fast! That seems like a nice idea and it will work in some places, but at the cost of higher energy bills. Not to mention, when the humidity levels are high, that measure could actually make your indoor air quality worse by raising the humidity levels even higher. The best thing to do here is size your system properly, don't put the fan in the "On" position, and get as much filtering as you can with your system.
Focus on minimizing pollutants
Let’s start with the filter. Depending on the type and density of the filter media, different filters can reduce or remove:
Dust: This is the most basic contaminant that air filters seek to remove. Even the least powerful air filter will prevent a substantial amount of dust from entering your HVAC system and circulating throughout your home. (usually MERV 1-4 These filters may actually make air quality worse by capturing allergens and spreading them throughout your home and vent system.)
Pollen, dust mites, and mold: Allergy sufferers should look for filters that trap these contaminants (usually MERV 5-8).
VOCs: If you’re sensitive to strong odors from cleaning products, household items, or anything that off-gases into your home, look for filters that specifically remove odors and VOCs. Many will include a carbon layer to capture the odors (usually MERV 8-16).
Bacteria: Now we’re getting into hospital-grade filtration. Some people need filters that can remove bacteria due to high sensitivity or because they have a chronic illness (usually MERV 13-17).
Viruses: HEPA filters can usually remove viruses and other tiny particulates that slip by the media in other filters (usually MERV 15-20).
MERV values vary depending on the filter media type and size, and they’re not uniform across all brands and filter applications. So one MERV 13 filter might filter bacteria while another doesn’t. It all just depends.
In simplest terms, the higher the number, the more stuff you filter out. But there's a caveat here: Many (if not most) systems with high-MERV filters decrease the air flow because of poor design. As a result, the fan has to work harder to heat and cool your home, thus reducing its efficiency. :(
Change Your Air Filter
Many factors can affect how quickly filters get dirty.
The American Lung Association recommends replacing MERV 10 filters or higher approximately every 3 months. This depends on usage and HVAC configuration. We recommend starting with this change frequency and increasing or decreasing frequency depending on how dirty the filters are at replacement.
Dirty filters themselves can become a source of contamination by fungal spores and allergens. Contaminated filters then transmit the allergens through the vent system to the rest of your home, making it more important that you change them regularly.
When no filter is present, or filters are not replaced as often as they should, dust can collect in vents. This creates a breeding ground for mold and fungal bacteria which are detrimental to you and your loved ones health.
Replace your filter with these 6 simple steps:
1. Turn off your furnace
2. Find and locate your furnace filter
3. Determine the size of your filter (partially remove the existing filter and look for its dimensions, usually printed on the cardboard filter frame. If you cannot locate this information, use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the dimensions for height, width and thickness. For example, the filter pictured to the left are 16-x-25-x-4. In other words, 16 inches wide; 25 inches long and 4 inches thick.)
4. Remove the existing (old) filter
5. Insert the new filter
6. Return furnace to “on” position for a certain amount of time to begin the filtration process (the length of time is up to you depending on your needs/desires)
Go Beyond the Air Filter
Portable air cleaners, also known as air purifiers or air sanitizers, are designed to filter the air in a single room or area. Check out this short consumer guide by the EPA that covers portable air cleaners and HVAC filters used in the home.
No air filter will eliminate all the pollutants in your home. Most filters are designed to filter either particles or gases. In order for a system to eliminate both, it would need two filters.
The best filter for eliminating particles (such as mold spores, dust, pollen, or particles in tobacco smoke) in your home is the HEPA filter.
HEPA filters capture nearly everything!
Technically speaking, they trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, which is ridiculously small.
For perspective, a single hair from your head is about 45 microns wide.
Since HEPA filters contain incredibly dense filtration media, they usually require an additional fan to push air through the filter. Your blower or furnace fan won’t be able move enough air through the filter unassisted, which is why HEPA filters are usually installed as part of a system with an included fan.
Although HEPA filters are best at removing particulate matter they do not remove gases (such as odor). This means they can remove cigarette smoke particles, but not the related gases and smells.
The best filter for eliminating gases is an activated carbon filter. So how do you get the best of both worlds? Choose a portable air cleaner with two filters (a HEPA and an activated carbon filter). As you can imagine, that can get pretty pricey.
That’s why we're proud to offer our customers the option to rent our HEPA Air Scrubber with a Carbon Filter option.
Our Dri-Eaz HEPA 500 Air Scrubber is a portable air filtration unit that uses a HEPA filter with an efficiency rating of 99.97% to address indoor air quality issues
What can a HEPA Air Scrubber be used for?
A HEPA air scrubber rental is perfect for any restoration job, mold remediation, mold treatment or home improvement project where you are looking to limit airborne particulates or improve overall indoor air quality.
Property Management Companies
Owners of Rental Properties
Homeowners Looking to Improve Overall Indoor Air Quality
HEPA Air Scrubber Rental Pricing:
Weekly: (5 Days): $450
How does the rental process work?
One of our certified technicians will drop the rented equipment off directly to you and your home or office and provide you with the instructions on how to properly use the equipment. When the rental period is over, we will return to pick up the equipment. Rental of a HEPA Air Scrubber includes a new HEPA filter. Additional Carbon filter upon request.
To get started, please contact us at 515-441-1918 to check equipment availability. Or fill out our convenient request form.
We currently rent to the following counties in Iowa: Story County.
A 50% credit card deposit is required for all rental equipment; the balance due will be paid upon pick up of the equipment.
Remember, air filters are your first line of defense against contaminated indoor air.
And don’t underestimate the importance of dehumidification for indoor air quality. We’ll discuss more on that next time. Until then, start with the filter!
Disclaimer: The information contained on this blog is for general information purposes only. Clean Indeed Carpet assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the blog. In no event shall Clean Indeed Carpet be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of the contents of the blog.
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