Indoor Air Quality and MERV
Health Canada reports Canadians spend close to 90% of their time inside, either at home, work, or in a recreational environment. Many people are unaware of the effects of poor indoor air quality on their health. Considering the amount of time we spend indoors, clean indoor air is essential for maintaining good health.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to asthma and allergies. The good news is we all have the ability to control the quality of our indoor air and reduce adverse health effects. You can start by replacing your furnace air filter regularly with a pleated filter which will help improve your homes indoor air quality.
So what is MERV? MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust from the air as it passes through the filter. MERV ratings range from 1 – 16 and measurements are in microns. Some of the common particles related to MERV ratings are pet dander, insecticide dust, smog, dust, viruses, wood, tobacco smoke, spores, bacteria and pollen.
The typical residential disposable type filters found in many homes have an average of 1 to 4 MERV rating. The most basic air filters use a cloth type filter to separate out the dust particles. These filters are ineffective if you are looking to improve the air quality of your home, as they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns. MERV 5 to 8 rated filters are better and will collect particles as small as 3 microns. Although a good choice, you may want to take it to the next level. Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1-3 micron range. These filters are an excellent choice for homeowners who want the best dust control possible. Keep in mind that they should be changed one or two times per year, depending on environment and how often the furnace and air conditioner run. If they become too dirty with dust they become less effective and can negatively impact your equipment performance. There are other products in the market place that can make a difference. Ozone air purifiers release ozone (O3) into the air, Carbon air purifiers use activated carbon as an air filter, and ionic air purifiers negatively charge air particles which attract the positively charged pollutants. Let’s not forget electrostatic filters, ultraviolet light air purifiers and even hydroxyl radical air purifiers. By far the most effective air filtration system is a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting) which can trap 99% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns. These filters are often used in hospitals and in environments that require clean air, helping to prevent the spread of airborne bacterial and viral organisms.
Take the time to weigh the facts and speak with one of our qualified HVAC home comfort advisors. Don’t let indoor air affect your quality of life. Purify it and breath easy.